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Salud mental

versión impresa ISSN 0185-3325


VILLATORO VELASQUEZ, Jorge Ameth et al. Student survey of Mexico City 2006: Prevalence and trends of drug use. Salud Ment [online]. 2009, vol.32, n.4, pp.287-297. ISSN 0185-3325.

Introduction Since three years from now, in Mexico there has been several surveys and specific research regarding drug use. Over these years the national surveillance systems databases (SISVEA, CIJ) have shown that cocaine use has stabilized and marijuana use is still increasing, although there are some regional differences. Also, the results of the 2003 Mexico City Students' Survey revealed a similar inclination: an increase on marijuana use, a slight diminish on cocaine use and as a new stage: a rebound on inhalant use. However, these changes and trends on drug use are not the same all over the country. The results found in these databases suggest that the northern border behaves differently from the rest of the country, even all along the northern border itself. While drug use in Matamoros is lower than in other border cities, Nuevo Laredo, Reynosa and Ciudad Juarez registered high cocaine and heroin use. On the other hand, even though the border cities of Sonora and Baja California have these same drug use problems, they also show high rates of methamphetamine use. Another important issue on border cities is that Ciudad Juarez has reached Tijuana's use levels, mainly among teens between 12 and 1 7 years old. These two cities have the highest substance use levels in the country, even above Mexico City. On the central region of the country, the drug use rates are halfway between. Even though Mexico City's drug use levels are among the central region and the two border cities mentioned before, in all the states that have been studied, there's been a general significant increase in drug use. In southern states, especially Yucatan (where there's a household and a students' survey), the drug rates are the lowest in the country. However, the women's drug use rates keeps increasing. Specifically the 2003 students' survey showed that in some Mexico City's counties women have higher alcohol and tobacco prevalence, and their illegal drug use trends begin to be alike to men's illegal drug use trends. Objective To present drug use prevalence results from the 2006 Mexico City Students Survey. Material and methods This survey used a 10523 Mexico City students random sample. The sample design was stratified (by county), with two stages (by school) and clustered (by groups). This data is representative by State County and by educational level. The design is comparable with previous student's surveys made by the National Psychiatric Institute (INP) and the Mexican Board of Education (SEP). The marijuana, cocaine and inhalants variation coefficients (VC) were determined according to the 2003 survey. The variable with the highest VC, a non-response rate and a design effect of two were considered as in previous surveys. With all these parameters, it was considered a 15% non-response rate, the same found in previous studies. The sample's accuracy level was 95%, with an absolute error average of 0.004. The questionnaire was made with drug use indicators that the World Health Organization used in their own surveys. Besides, some youth behaviors were explored: suicide attempt, depression, eating risk behaviors, sexual behavior, etc. Results From this sample 49.9% were women and 50.5% male. As for Tobacco <<Ever use>>, it affected the same both men and women, and remained similar in comparison to 2003. Also, 68.8% of the adolescents have consumed alcohol at least once in their life and 41.3% has drunk it in the previous month, being women and men equally behaved. The total drug use prevalence was 1 7.8%, statistically higher than in the 2003 survey, with a 2.6% difference. Men use more drugs compared to women. Of the total sample, 12.9% is an experimental user and 4.9% is a regular user (have used drugs five or more times). As for medical drugs (tranquillizers and amphetamines), their use is higher in women, while illegal drugs use (marijuana, cocaine, hallucinogens, inhalants, methamphetamine and heroin) is higher in men. In general terms, illegal drug use is higher than medical drugs use. Substance use percentage was nearly twice for tenth to twelfth grade students, compared to seventh to ninth grade students. Women have experimented less with illegal drugs in the 'previous year of use' than men, yet women have shown an important increase on inhalant and marijuana use over the past three years, and cocaine use has remained similar. Marijuana is the first choice drug among adolescents, followed by inhalants, tranquillizers in third place and cocaine in fourth place of choice. Also, the results show that drug use is highly related with other problematic behaviors like suicidal attempt, depressive sintomatology, antisocial behavior, and sexual risk behaviors. Conclusions The study points out an important increase in drug use over the past three years, going from 15.2% to 17.8%. Different trends can be seen on each substance. On the one hand, marijuana and inhalants use has increased widely, on the other hand tranquillizers use remains stable and cocaine use has decreased. These results showed that the illegal drugs use among both men and women has increased (marijuana and inhalants mostly), women's cocaine use has remained steady, but men's has been reduced. Legal drugs use behavior hasn't changed: the use of alcohol has enhanced, while tobacco use is similar to the 2003 survey. It has also been reported that the use rate of both substances is practically the same among men and women. Also, the situation of México City has changed slightly. The counties that are more damaged by drug use are: Azcapotzalco, Cuauhtémoc, Benito Juárez, Coyoacán and Tlalpan. In order to improve drug use prevention programs to consider the relationship between several problematic behaviors like suicidal attempt or antisocial behavior, because users showed prevalence at least twice more than non users. Likewise, there still exist a low risk perception and a high tolerance towards tobacco and alcohol use, which are important risk factors for using other drugs. Additionally, if we also take into account that the first use takes place a younger age, the probabilities of using medical and illegal drugs increase significantly.

Palabras llave : Student surveys; adolescents; drug use; prevention; addiction diagnosis.

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