Drug use in Mexico

A survey reveals the five states in Mexico with the highest drug use and the drug of choice of the overall population

Illegal drugs - File photo/EL UNIVERSAL
English 05/12/2017 11:25 Astrid Rivera Mexico City Actualizada 11:38
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According to the National Survey on Drugs, Alcohol, and Tobacco Consumption (ENCODAT) 2016-2017,  Quintana Roo, Jalisco, Baja California, Coahuila, and Aguascalientes are the five states with the highest drug use in Mexico.

The survey, which considers the total drug use among the Mexican population aged 12 to 65 per state, shows data on the consumption of marijuana, cocaine, and amfetamines.

According to the data, Quintana Roo is the state with most consumers of marijuana, with a percentage of 13.8%;  Jalisco, with a percentage of 6.9%, is the first in cocaine users; and Baja California, with 3.1%, in amfetamines.

The National Commission Against Addictions (CONADIC) has cautioned that drug use represents a serious public health problem and a challenge for both, health institutes and law enforcement due to its high social impact, and recommend the implementation of public policies to decrease demand and control supply.

Overall, total use of illegal drugs in men has increased at a national level by 7% when compared to figures from 2008; while in women, by 2.4%.

Marijuana is the illegal substance with the most growth in consumption, going from 3.5% in 2002 to 8.6% in 2016.

This drug has increased its consumption in both, women and men, which has been attributed to the risk perception in the population, which has decreased by 40% – a stark contrast to cocaine, whose risk perception increased by 62%.

“This situation is evident in Mexico City, where barely 26% consider very dangerous the use of marihuana”, stated the survey.

The states with more marijuana users between the ages of 12 to 65 are:

Quintana Roo - 13.8%
Baja California - 12.8%
Jalisco - 12.2%
Nayarit - 10.9%-
Colima - 10.8%

Cocaine consumption has seen a moderate increase, going from a total consumption of 1.2% in 2002 to 3.5% in 2016. Yet, its use has achieved certain stability since 2011, showed an increase of 0.8% between this year and 2016.

The states with more cocaine users between the ages of 12 to 65 are:

Jalisco - 6.9%
Chihuahua - 6.1%
Quintana Roo - 5.8%
Nayarit - 5.7%
Colima - 4.9%

Amphetamines had a slight increase, as total consumption went from 0.1% in 2002 to 0.9% in 2016. The use of this drug hasn't risen beyond 0.2% since 2011, although there is a slight increase within the population aged 12 to 17, which escalated to 0.2% when compared to the 0.1% five years ago.

The states with more amphetamines  users between the ages of 12 to 65 are:

Baja California 3.1%
Colima 2.4%
Jalisco 2%
Sinaloa 2%
Nayarit 1.8%


Heroine consumption hasn't seen increases since 2008. Its yearly consumption continues to be lower than 0.1%.

Drug use continues to begin at an early age, given that the average age of first-time users is usually 17 in men and 18 in women, a sector which reports few new cases after 35. In 2011, the average age of first-time users was 18.5 for men and 20.1 for women.

ENCODAT also highlighted the importance of developing clear prevention policies to “strengthen socio-emotional skills” of children and their families from an early age, as programs need to increase risk perception of drug use and integrate the need of “safe public spaces and forums for the development of new generations.”

The organization has also stressed its vital to change the perception of drug use as a health problem instead of a criminal activity, and fight the stigma surrounding drug users, particularly women, who are the ones less prone to seek treatment.

Moreover, they mentioned authorities should reinforce their vigilance operations to prevent illicit drugs from being offered at schools and family recreation areas.


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