Politics, Business & Culture in the Americas

Chile’s Students Lead Latin America in Marijuana and Tobacco Consumption



A new study by the Organization of American States and the United Nations on alcohol, tobacco and drug consumption among high school students revealed that Chilean students consume more marijuana and tobacco than their regional counterparts. The study looked at more than 170 thousand students from Perú, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador and Uruguay.

Chile’s consumption rate of marijuana in the sampled age groups was 22.7 percent—more than double the regional average of 11 percent. Alcohol continues to be the most prevalent substance used by students in Chile with 70 percent of students reporting that they drank at least once before. The regional leaders in youth alcohol consumption were Ecuador and Uruguay at nearly 80 percent. Perú and Bolivia, by contrast, had rates of 52 and 43 percent respectively.

Among legal drugs, tobacco took the lead. Nearly 70 percent of Chilean students reported having smoked tobacco at least once. This was far above countries like Ecuador (48.8), Uruguay (47.9) and Argentina (47.2) percent.

Other key concerns revealed by the study are younger students in a number of countries trying marijuana for the first time and a rise in inhalant use in Perú, Bolivia and Ecuador.

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