This article addresses illegal drug use within the current debate in traditional public health and in proposals from Latin America, while emphasizing the need to approach the issue from an alternative public health perspective centered on individual users, groups, and social movements as protagonists. This counterhegemonic approach thus aims to orient the discussion on the need for inclusive and democratic public policies. Illegal drug use has been addressed from various perspectives: clinical medicine, viewing it as a problem that generates mental disorders and infectious diseases, both through risky sexual practices and/or use of injecting paraphernalia; from a legal perspective, as a problem related to delinquency; and according to traditional public health, as a problem that generates school dropout and work absenteeism and increases the demand on health services, in addition to increasing violence and death. However, not all forms of drug consumption involve problematic use, nor do they all trigger disorders related to substance use.
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- Health policy
- Social stigma
- Street drugs
- Substance-related disorders