Illegal Stimulants Use in Brazil: Epidemiological Aspects and Possible Reasons for High Consumption of Crack/Cocaine and Amphetamine-type Stimulants

Renata Rigacci Abdalla, Raul Caetano, Luciana Massaro, Sandro Mitsuhiro, Ilana Pinsky, Ronaldo Ramos Laranjeira, Clarice Sandi Madruga

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


The trend of stimulant use, especially crack cocaine, carries worrisome ramifications in Brazil, whose population of 200. million includes a young, booming, new middle class, as well as a large, economically disadvantaged and uneducated tier of society; both are equally vulnerable to drug abuse and addiction. The geographically continental-sized proportions of Brazil impose a challenge when performing nationally representative surveys. Nevertheless, the Brazilian Alcohol and Drugs Survey (BNADS), carried out in 2012, overcame this barrier and estimated consumption prevalence rates of the main psychoactive substances in the country. The results highlight that indeed Brazil is among the nations with notably high consumption rates of crack cocaine and amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS), with nearly 2% and 1.6% of its population (aged 14. years and older) having used drugs in the past year. The prevalence of cocaine addiction in the population was estimated at 0.6% according to the Severity of Dependence Scale (SDS). Predictors of consumption differed among the substances studied: although men were nearly 4 times more likely to use cocaine compared to women, the risk of ATS use was higher for women. Socioeconomic status affected only ATS consumption, where the risk increased among the economically privileged. Finally it is imperative to point out that the sheer estimated number of users makes Brazil one of the greatest worldwide consumer markets for stimulants; yet the nation is still not taking the necessary actions to expand and generate solid frameworks for addiction-specific health care, let alone the implementation of prevention interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationStimulants, Club and Dissociative Drugs, Hallucinogens, Steroids, Inhalants and International Aspects
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9780128003756
ISBN (Print)9780128002124
StatePublished - Apr 15 2016


  • Addiction
  • Amphetamine type stimulants (ATS)
  • Brazil
  • Crack cocaine
  • National survey
  • Stimulants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Illegal Stimulants Use in Brazil: Epidemiological Aspects and Possible Reasons for High Consumption of Crack/Cocaine and Amphetamine-type Stimulants'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this