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Press Release


  June 26, 2008

*International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking

On occasion of the celebration today of the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) of the Organization of American States (OAS), together with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), present the findings of a study entitled “Guidelines for Public Policy on Drugs in the Subregion: First comparative study on drug use and associated factors among the general population (aged 15-64).

The research was conducted in 2006-2007, using a common methodology design that allows for a comparative analysis of the data. The total sample of 61,607 people represents 43 million people in the six countries.

A notable finding is the high level of alcohol use in all of the countries (between 30% and 60% of the population drank alcohol in the last month of the study). A high level of alcohol use was also evident in surveys of high-school students conducted by UNODC and CICAD in 2004-2005.

As to illicit drugs, the findings show the highest levels of use in Argentina, Chile and Uruguay, and the lowest in Ecuador and Peru, with Bolivia in between. As in other parts of the world, the drug most used in all of the countries taking part in the study is marijuana. The average of previous year use in the six countries covered by the study is 4.8% (or 2.1 million people), higher than the 3.9% world average. Cocaine is the second most-consumed drug in the six countries, with 1.4% of the population between the ages of 15-64 reporting use in the previous year.

The National Drug Commissions of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Peru and Uruguay contributed to the study, which can be found in Spanish at (

Reference: E-253/08