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“Responsible” drug consumption

Although in the international context our country has a relatively low level of narcotics consumption, it is not an option for our political class to postpone the design and discussion of public policies in the matter
File photo/EL UNIVERSAL
28/05/2017
09:36
Mexico City
Newspaper leader by EL UNIVERSAL
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Currently in Mexico, as in the rest of the world, drug use, legal and not, is increasing. And although in the international context our country has a relatively low level of narcotics consumption, it is not an option for our political class to postpone the design and discussion of public policies in the matter, - among which the debate on legalization and regulation of some drugs will have to be addressed -, as Mexican society well knows after more than a decade of fighting against drug trafficking, in addition to being a public health issue, it also constitutes a security one.

In this context, exercises such as the survey conducted in Mexico by the international organization Global Drug Survey (GDS), based in Great Britain, on the use of licit drugs in our country, help to dimension this phenomenon - today full of myths, prejudices, false beliefs and misinformation - to evaluate what has been done so far in the area of addictions, as well as to undertake the design of new strategies in the matter, with an alternative and more humane approach.

And because, in particular, the legalization of marijuana for playful use - today is already legal for medical purposes - is imminent in Mexico in the mid or long term, it is interesting to review some information from the survey mentioned, such as the fact that, in Mexico, cannabis is the most commonly used illegal drug, with a higher rate among men. About consumption habits, three out of four users of this herb claim that they usually smoke it an hour or two before bed, to relax before the end of the day. Of the total surveyed, 65% reported having a job and only 11% were unemployed. By their ages, half is less than 25 years; 36% range between 25 and 34; And 14% are above 35.

Given the above, the GDS conclusion is that, in Mexico, there is a population of users of permitted and other prohibited drugs that handle their consumption in a 'responsible manner', due to their high levels of education and employment, and therefore cannot be considered as addicted nor prone to receive help from public health care institutions, besides, the majority of these consumers do not believe to have a problematic use in their life thus does not seek treatment for it.

We note that not every use is necessarily addictive, which of course does not mean that consumption across the country is this way. The important thing is to see through these updated data - the latest official figures date from 2011 with the National Addiction Survey - that the phenomenon of drug use in Mexico has many nuances and edges.

All this would be very useful to know to our politicians, so 'concerned' by drug consumption, but so passive in the elaboration and writing of modern legislation.

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