The media and global initiatives to legalize marijuana are listed as culprits for the increased use of this drug among Costa Rican students.
This was revealed by a recent analysis of the Institute on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (IAFA).
In 2009, 38 out of every thousand high school students used marijuana. In 2015, this number rose to 57.
In addition, from 2009 to 2015 the prevalence of consumption among the same population increased 2.5%.
The only good result for the country is that the average age of smoking onset among students increased from 14 years to 14.2.
Marijuana has gained much media connotation because there are projects in the Legislative Assembly (…) Teenagers or consumers have used this situation to validate the consumption and this has now been positively positioned in the Costa Rican culture,”
said Eduardo Sandí , director of IAFA.
Lilliam Reneau, representative of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) to Costa Rica, said the increase in marijuana use is a concern in any society.
Unlike marijuana, tobacco shows a better scenario for the competent authorities, since the prevalence and age of consumption dropped.
Alcohol consumption, on the other hand, also increased. In 2009 it took 204 students per thousand, while 2015 only 323 were registered.
Sandí said they’ll implement stronger measures in their programs, such as “learn to fend for myself,” to reduce cannabis consumption.