Cocaine consumption doubles in Mexico in 6 years
MEXICO CITY — The use of cocaine doubled in Mexico over the last six years, partly because the drug became more available in the country, a government report said Friday.
The overall use of illegal drugs, however, increased only slightly, according to the Health Department's 2008 national addictions survey.
The report said 2.4 percent of Mexicans aged 12 to 65 used cocaine in 2008, compared to 1.2 percent in 2002. The consumption of all illegal drugs rose to 5.7 percent of the population from 5 percent.
Carlos Rodriguez, president of the National Addictions Council, said the jump in cocaine use was in part due to the drug becoming more abundant in Mexico after stepped-up security in the U.S. made it harder for traffickers to smuggle shipments north.
The report said Mexico's states of Quintana Roo, where the Gulf resort of Cancun is located, and Tamaulipas, across from Texas, have the highest use of illegal drugs — just over 11 percent of their populations.
President Felipe Calderon has opened dozens of drug rehabilitation centers while pursuing an offensive against drug traffickers.
Calderon deployed 45,000 soldiers and federal agents shortly after taking office in December 2006 to drug hotspots throughout Mexico. The gangs responded with unprecedented violence, including beheadings and shootouts, that has killed more than 13,500 people.