Drug Use Epidemiology in Latin America and the Caribbean: A Public Health Approach
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[Summary]. This report is an epidemiological overview of drug use in the Americas and provides basic information about health consequences and disorders caused by the use of illicit drugs and the non-medical of legal psychoactive drugs by prescription. (Tobacco and alcohol are the topics of other reports published by the Pan American Health Organization [PAHO] and are not addressed here.) Although most studies in the report include data from North America, the report focuses primarily on the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean. Drug-use studies in the Region are scarce and methods of collecting data are inconsistent. But several key facts make one conclusion clear: Misuse of drugs presents a vital public health concern that requires immediate attention. Three factors are at the heart of the problem: inequities in development, lack of access to health services and the exclusion of some segments of the population from the mainstream of society. A public health approach must therefore focus on: Sustainable development. Providing health care as a basic human right. Promoting programs of social inclusion for marginalized groups at high risk of drug abuse and dependence. The social and health consequences of drug use are significant and should be addressed without delay. This report offers recommendations for improving the quality of research—the crucial underpinning for informed policy and effective programs—and argues for public health measures that would reduce the health burden of drug use.
Epidemiología del Uso de Drogas en América Latina y el Caribe: Un enfoque de la salud pública
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