The National Council Against Addictions (Conadic) has estimated that over 2.38 million Mexican youths are in need of some kind of rehabilitation treatment for abuse of substances, mainly marijuana and alcohol.
This is but one of the staggering figures presented in the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use Among Students, conducted in public and private schools in the 32 states, which also indicated that children are beginning to consume illegal drugs at 10 years old, two years younger than had been thought.
The survey also established that addiction among youths in secondary and preparatory schools – nearly 80,000 young men and 50,000 young women – requires immediate intervention.
A broader number of the same spectrum of students, about 311,000 men and 260,000 women, were found to need brief support interventions, which could consist of counseling sessions or a short rehabilitation internment period.
The course of action to take in the case of younger, elementary school students is still being assessed.
Conadic chief Manuel Mondragón wants to know the how and where of treatment: “713,963 secondary and preparatory school students need to be treated for use of drugs, and 1.674 million for abuse of alcohol. The question is, where are we going to treat them, and who will provide the treatment? What are our infrastructural capabilities?”
Mondragón said nearly 1.8 million children and teenagers – from elementary to preparatory – have tried illegal drugs, 152,000 of which are fifth and sixth-grade students, and whose first experience was with marijuana, followed by inhalants and cocaine.
Of that 1.8 million, over 108,000 have used marijuana between one and five times.
The abuse of alcohol is no less worrisome: 1.5 million secondary and preparatory school students have abused it, consuming over five drinks at a time and becoming drunk. Over 110,000 elementary school students have the done the same.
The states with the most substance abuse among children are Chihuahua, Jalisco, State of México, the Federal District and San Luis Potosí.
Nine out of every 10 children in Michoacán, Campeche and Quintana Roo are experimenting with and abusing harder substances like cocaine.
Mondragón stated that immediate measures to deal with the issue could consist of shutting down all establishments that sell alcohol to minors, as well as signing agreements in every state to strengthen the use of breathalyzers and control the sale of legal and illegal drugs.
Mondragón also said the federal government is open to raising the limit of recreational drugs an individual can carry, currently set at five grams. This would permit the reinsertion into society of non-violent, first-offender youths who are currently in jail for possession of illegal substances.
Meanwhile, in Congress, the first round of discussions around the use of marijuana and its derivatives is taking place with the participation of representatives from the United Nations and parents’ associations.
The discussion is focusing on the legalization of medicinal cannabinoid-based products.
Source: Milenio (sp)