CICAD Report Examines Western Hemisphere Drug Use Trends

OAS CICAD Report Cover

The 2019 Report on Drug Use in the Americas discusses the most widely used drugs in the western hemisphere, focusing on emerging trends, onset of use, gender differences, and challenges for drug policy. Published by the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) at the Organization of American States, the report analyzes data by drug and population group. Data were obtained primarily through national surveys using the CICAD Inter-American Uniform Drug Use Data System. Among the key findings:

  • Alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, cocaine, and smokable cocaine show some levels of use among eighth graders.
  • Only tobacco use decreases over time.
  • Among countries that have trend data for the general population, cannabis use is increasing in most countries and cocaine use is increasing in about half the countries.
  • Recent data show that females in some countries are now using certain drugs either at the same, or at higher rates, than are males.
  • In almost every country where data are available, women use tranquilizers more frequently than men do in general, secondary, and university populations.
  • New psychoactive substances, traditional drugs, and counterfeit substances are frequently mixed together or with toxic adulterants.
  • Other countries in the hemisphere are beginning to report the high levels of opioid and new psychoactive substance use reported by Canada and the United States.

The report suggests that a regional drug policy is unlikely to address the needs of every country because the prevalence and types of drugs used vary widely by country. The report urges member states to adopt evidence-based policies that reflect gender differences, use a public health approach to focus on the well-being of individuals, and respect human rights. Access the Report on Drug Use in the Americas 2019.