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Addict Behav. 2005 Mar;30(3):545-56.

Household survey on drug abuse in Brazil: study involving the 107 major cities of the country--2001.

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Universidade Federal De São Paulo, Departamento De Psicobiologia, Brazil.


The prevalence of the use in Brazil of illicit drugs, as well as of alcohol and tobacco, was determined. Further, illicit use of psychotropic medicines, and anabolic steroids were also surveyed. This study was carried out in 107 Brazilian cities with more than 200,000 inhabitants aged 12-65 years. The sampling design adopted was that of sampling per aggregates in three stages: first, the census sectors were selected; second, homes were selected among the sectors; finally, in each home, a respondent was selected in a manner independent of the interviewer. There were 8589 persons interviewed. The questionnaire utilized was that of the SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) which was translated and adapted for Brazilian conditions. The lifetime use of alcohol in the 107 major cities of the country was 68.7%, which was close to numbers observed for Chile at 70.8% and the USA at 81.0%. Yet, tobacco lifetime use was 41.1% of the total, which is lower than the prevalence observed in the USA (70.5%). The data on the lifetime use of marijuana in Brazil (6.9%) approximated the findings for Colombia (5.4%), however, being much lower than that observed in the USA (34.2%) and the United Kingdom (25.0%). The prevalence of lifetime use of cocaine was 2.3%, well below the levels for the USA with 11.2% of the total population. The abuse of inhalants was 5.8% of the total, greater than that found in Colombia (1.4%) and about four times less than that in the United Kingdom with 20.0%. Among the medicaments, stimulants had a 1.5% prevalence of lifetime use, and that of benzodiazepines had similar percentages in Brazil (3.3%) and in the USA (5.8%). In this survey, only four individuals reported lifetime use of heroin, which was equivalent to about 0.04% of the sample and much lower than that in the USA with 1.2% and in Colombia reaching 1.5%. These findings will allow the implementation of public policies fitted to the situation with psychotropic drugs in Brazil.

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