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Salud mental

versión impresa ISSN 0185-3325


GALVAN REYES, Jorge; ORTIZ CASTRO, Arturo; SORIANO RODRIGUEZ, Alejandra  y  CASANOVA RODAS, Leticia. Tendencias del uso de drogas en la Ciudad de México (1986-2003). Sistema de reporte de información sobre drogas. Salud Ment [online]. 2005, vol.28, n.3, pp.51-59. ISSN 0185-3325.


Currently, there are a number of methodological alternatives to find out the dynamics, the extension and the levels of drug use in the general population.

The trends on drug use in our country llave registered important variations in the last 25 years. Among the most outstanding of these trends are: the high and stable use of marijuana, the increase in cocaine use and a decrease in the use of inhalants. Recently an increase in the use of these stimulants has been registered.

The different studies show that these trends present some variations, since different group populations with different characteristics have been studied. This is the case of the data obtained by the Drug Information Reporting System -IRSD-which detects users with specific characteristics (regular drug users and advanced cases of addiction).

Based on the facts mentioned above, the intention of this article is to present the main trends on drug use in Mexico City within the period between 1986 and 2003, according to the drug Information reporting System -DIRS- and to analyze these trends compared to other studies with different types of population.


The Information Reporting System on Drugs IRSD is a mechanism used to obtain data coming from diverse agencies that are related to the problem of the use of drugs; such agencies belong to the health sector or to the agencies of law enforcement.

The main advantages of this type of systems are a low cost of operation -since it works with the infrastructure of the institutions that mainly conform the system- its easy application and that it provides current and fast information on the phenomenon.

The continuous operation of the IRSD allows the accumulation of data with a sequence which makes possible the analysis of the trends on drug use, the identification of new groups at high risk and new drugs in the market. It also allows to identify the design of the preventive actions derived from the continuous analysis of information coming from its data bases.

Mexico City has its own Drug Information Reporting System -IRSD- since 1986 coordinated by the National Institute of Psychiatry Ramon de la Fuente. Its objective is to count on a periodic and homogenous source of information which can be used as a diagnosis tool to design suitable programs of prevention appropriate to the Mexican population from a health perspective. The IRSD carries out semester evaluations of the phenomenon and has done now a total of 34.


Sample description: IRSD information between 1986 and June 2003 was used. This data base is conformed by 16,377 studied cases. It is a considered as «case» any person who recognizes to have consumed at least once in life some drug with the deliberate purpose of being intoxicated. The cases are also excluded from accidental or occupational exhibition and when only alcohol and tobacco have been consumed.

Instrument: The Information is obtained from an individual scale applied twice a year, in health and justice agencies. This schedule collects information on the following aspects: socio-demographic profiles of the users, the reason for entering the institution, problems associated with the drug use and patterns of consumption of 12 drugs. For this article, only the information corresponding to the pattern of consumption was used to identify the trends. The analysis includes the information compiled by the IRSD during the period of 1986 and the first semester of 2003. Procedure: The instrument is applied twice a year, in periods of 30 days, during the months of June and November to any one who uses drugs and has entered the health and justice agencies for such reason. Once the period of information gathering is over, the applied instruments are sent by all the participant institutions to the National Institute of Psychiatry for their processing and analysis. Finally, the results are reintegrated into a report which is distributed among the participant institutions and people interested in this problem.


The analysis of the trends on drug use observed by the IRSD during the period 1986-2003 shows the following: Marijuana and inhalants reach the level of higher consumption for all drugs until the second semester of 1997. In the following years there is a decrease for these substances, particularly for inhalants.

The trend of cocaine use shows significant changes. The first important increase in the levels of use was observed between the years of 1993 and 1997. At the end of this period the use of cocaine was reported by every 40 of 100 users. The following

year this proportion went up to 63, which represents an increase of more than 50 per cent. From this year and up to date the trend shows a stable behavior with similar levels of use.

In regard to hallucinogens low levels of consumption have been observed, during the 15 years of evaluation by the IRSD. Approximately five of 100 cases report their use by semester. Sedatives and tranquilizers show the highest increase during the first semester of 1993, with 28 users for every 100 cases; since then a decrease in consumption has been observed.

The consumption of stimulants has presented a very irregular trend through the evaluations. For heroin use a very low percentage of consumption is observed with one out of every 100 cases. There was a slight increase only in two evaluations during the first semester of 1992 and 1993.


The most outstanding results regarding the tendencies of consumption of addictive substances is the increase of cocaine use at the beginning of the nineties and has always showed a tendency do increase. In the last evaluation certain stability in its consumption, is observed, at least in the last two years. It is important to emphasize that the increase in the consumption of cocaine may probably be associated to its availability in Mexico as well as that for its derivatives.

Equally significant within this period of evaluation is the decrease of inhalant consumption, specially during 1999. Some studies show a possible substitution of these substances by cocaine and or its derivatives.

The trends of drug use provided by the IRSD must be interpreted taking into account that the drug user population included in the evaluations belongs to a sector that does not represent the whole universe of users in the general population. However the trends of drug use reported by the IRSD are in agreement with those reported by the surveys in general and school population, where marijuana, cocaine and inhalants were reported as the drugs of greater use among the Mexican population.

It is important to note that when the lack of financial and or human resources become real obstacles to carry out sophisticated, extensive periodic studies to evaluate drug use, a system of this type is a valuable alternative for the developing countries.

Palabras llave : Trends; drug use; Drug Information Reporting System.

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