Marijuana Consumption Increased in Costa Rica: 12 To 19 Years Old Are the Common Ages to Try it For the First Time

    Surprising results from the latest national survey

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    IAFA survey reveals the lowest tobacco consumption in the history of Costa Rica and minimal use of emerging drugs Marijuana consumption in Costa Rica has increased in the last 8 years, going from 32 people per thousand in 2015 to 44 per thousand in 2022.Furthermore, 12 to 19 years old is the average age at which young people try it for the first time.

    The data comes from the VII National Survey on the Consumption of Psychoactive Substances in the Population aged 12 to 70 in Homes in 2022, carried out by the Institute on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (IAFA).To apply the survey, the opinion of 16,059 informants from the 84 cantons of the Costa Rican territory was included.

    People’s perception of the problem of drug use

    “The importance of conducting surveys on the consumption of psychoactive substances, in addition to identifying whether they are present in a sector of the population, is to determine people’s perception of the problem of drug use,” said Oswaldo Aguirre, general director of the IAFA.“Based on the results, decisions are made, adjustments are made to preventive, treatment, information and communication programs,” added the director.

    Other drugs

    The 2022 Household Survey on the Consumption of Psychoactive Substances also allowed us to learn about the consumption of other products in the population.A relevant fact is that the lowest number of tobacco smokers in the history of Costa Rica was obtained. The percentage went from 10.5% in 2015 to 7% last year.

    Some general data revealed by the survey are:

    • The largest number of consumers of alcoholic beverages and cannabis are in the 20 to 29 age group.
    • Those who use tobacco, cocaine and crack are in the 30 to 39 age group.
    • Six out of every 1,000 people use cocaine. The age for the first time is 20 years old and men are the ones who use it the most.
    • Six out of every 10,000 people used fentanyl as an opioid medication without a prescription.
    • Alcoholic beverages remain the main psychoactive consumer product in Costa Rica.
    • 18 in 100 people reported using tranquilizers, stimulants or opioids without a prescription

    Understanding the problem

    “Knowing the magnitude of the consumption problem, its relationship with other social situations and the variability over time is important to be able to intervene because consumption affects consumers, families and the community,” said Wendy Castro, from the IAFA. Likewise, the survey highlights that a minimal consumption of emerging drugs was found, such as:Tusi, Fentanyl, Synthetic marijuana, Bath salts and Ketamines

    “The results provide a critical approach to the phenomenon of substance consumption in people between the ages of 12 and 70. Furthermore, they allow us to lay the foundations of knowledge that can and should serve to generate public policies,” stressed YorlenyRamírez, head of the research.

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