Drug Abuse in the Global Village
Drug Abuse in the Americas

Treatment and Rehabilitation in Central America

            In 1992, 273 patients were registered in a total of 51 treatment facilities, including 27 specialized detoxification centers, 23 general hospitals and one psychiatric hospital. There were 203 patients seeking treatment for the first time. The relapse rate one year after treatment is reported at about 3.7 per cent (U.N. 1992).

            In all prisons there are drug counselling programmes, counselling on drug related diseases and general education and prevention programmes (U.N. 1992).

            IAFA is funded by the government to develop programmes for treatment and rehabilitation. In addition, there are treatment centers organized by the Salvation Army, Alcoholic Anonymous, Hogares CREA (a network specifically concerned with the rehabilitation of male abusers) and the Refugio de la Esperanza, run by the Salvation Army but devoted to the treatment of drug abusers (PAHO 1990).


FUNDASALVA provided services to 309,030 people by June 1992. In 1990, 4,820 people benefitted from their drug rehabilitation programmes. In 1991, this figure increased to 10465 people. During the first half of 1992, the figure was 4,967 people (MEMORIS DE LABORES 1991).


Treatment services are mandated to the private sector, where expertise is weak and standardization in treatment lacking (CMO 1991).

            Two registered drug dependent abusers were reported. It is also reported that there is a high tendency to conceal addiction in the country (U.N. 1991).

            There are no reports of programmes of prevention or treatment for abusers in prisons, with the exception of treatment for minors (CMO 1991).


Patients are offered treatment in 4 different levels: in hospitals detoxification units, in private organizations, in Health Centers and in self and mutual help groups (U.N. 1990).


In 1991, 26,094 individuals with drug dependence disorders began rehabilitation treatment under the auspices of the Health Sector and "Youth Centers" (Mexican Efforts in Drug Control 1992).

             Registration in drug registries in Mexico is voluntary. Figures could not be released due to high sampling variability (U.N. 1992).


Almost all regions have specialized mental health teams to treat drug related problems in the population. Treatment is provided in the country's general and psychiatric hospitals at the expense of the government (PAHO 1990).

            Treatment for young people is also provided by the private sector. Mental health teams in Panama's hospitals bear the primary responsibility for treatment. Their treatment approach is primarily medical. In the community, psycho-social treatment models are more prevalent (PAHO 1990).