In recent years, Mexico has witnessed an unprecedented increase in the use of legal and illegal drugs. Several studies show the country went from a transit country to one of production, distribution and final destination for a range of narcotics that, in public health terms, made a once resilient population more prone to drug use. Increased drug availability, more drug use opportunities; a lower legal age and the emergence of similar drug use patterns between men and women are only a few of the trends observed by health authorities since 1988.
But are churros (joints), metas (methamphetamine), ecstacy, inhalants and speed truly the most harmful drugs? Is illegality the only factor that determines the dangerousness of drugs and the level of priority assigned to address the drug phenomenon? Is it true that illegal substances are always more harmful than legal ones? The response is simple, binary and unique: no. In Mexico, illegal drug use and abuse has never exceeded or replaced alcohol consumption.