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Salud mental

versión impresa ISSN 0185-3325


BORGES, Guilherme et al. Unmet needs for treatment of alcohol and drug use in four cities in Mexico. Salud Ment [online]. 2009, vol.32, n.4, pp.327-333. ISSN 0185-3325.

Introduction Even though heavy alcohol consumption is frequent, alcohol-related consequences are common, and drug use has become more common in this country, we know very little about public health response and the types of treatments available for persons with substance use disorders in Mexico. Current national estimates show that about one in every five persons with alcohol and substance use disorders received treatment in the last 12 months, but to date the rates of treatment for local communities are unknown; these data are needed for policy planning at community level. This study presents data on the treatment for substance use and substance use disorders in three urban areas of Northern Mexico and one state capital in Central Mexico. The Northern region is of particular interest in Mexico because of its proximity to the United States and previous evidence that alcohol and drug use is about twice as common in this region compared with other regions. The city of Queretaro provides a more appropriate comparison for the cities in Northern Mexico than a place as Mexico City, or the national means, due to its level of development, population size, and basic epidemiologic data on drug use. Material and methods The Local Surveys on Addictions 2005 (Encuestas Locales de Adicciones 2005) are part of the Mexican National Survey on Addictions (ENA) series, supported by the Ministry of Health (CONADIC- National Council Against the Addictions), state and local governments, and the National Institute of Psychiatry (INP), and included the cities of Tijuana (Baja California), Ciudad Juarez (Chihuahua), Monterrey (Nuevo Leon) and Queretaro (Queretaro), as part of a continuous effort to monitor use of illicit substances in Mexico. The 12-month prevalence of health and non-health care service use for treatment of substance use was estimated. Correlates of service use, including interference with role impairment, were identified in logistic regression analyses that took into account the complex sample design and weighing process. Results A total of 2,148 completed interviews were obtained for a response rate of 70.5%. About 2.2% of those who used any substance saw any provider in the last 12 months, with the largest prevalence among the health care sector (1.37%), followed closely by the non-health care sector (0.91%). Among the health care sectors, the general medical sector provided more services than mental health specialists. About 11 % of those with any disorder consulted for services, with the health care sector providing many more services than the non-health care sector. The prevalence of use for mental health specialists and the general medical sector is very similar for those with a disorder. The largest prevalence of any service was found in Monterrey (about 15%), while Ciudad Juarez had the lowest (6.6%). Less than 50% of those with an active disorder reported any role impairment, but respondents with high levels of role impairment were more likely to use services. Conclusion We found large unmet needs for substance use services among urban residents of Queretaro and in three major northern cities in Mexico. The two cities that have shown higher rates of substance use in addiction surveys in Mexico (Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez) had the lowest levels of any treatment. We found few predictors of service use among those who used any substance and among those with an active disorder. Among those, respondents with high levels of role impairment were more likely to use services. Treatment for substance use can be effective and is urgently needed if Mexico wants to face the prominent place of alcohol in the burden of disease in the country. The effort to change the current situation of alcohol and drug service utilization, including the low rates of mental health specialists in these cities, is likely to require coordination of research, larger numbers of services, treatment alternatives, and service development.

Palabras llave : Alcohol; drug use; health services; border.

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