Epidemiological research of problems related to alcohol consumption in Latin America has been going on for nearly 30 years. Nevertheless, during this period very few countries sustained interest in continuing this type of studies. The first section of the article examines the statistics on alcohol-related mortality, admissions to psychiatric hospitals and traffic accidents. The second section reviews community studies of drinking practices. Results show marked differences in the norms associated with alcohol use by men and women. Excessive drinking and drunkenness occurs mostly among males. Women are either abstainers or moderate drinkers. Among males the rate of alcoholism varies from 5% in Argentina to 10% in Colombia, and the prevalence of excessive drinking ranges from 12% in Argentina to 28% in Chile, or 26% in some parts of Costa Rica. Ethnographic studies show that although drinking and heavy drinking is common among natives, there seems to be more tolerance for the effects of these practices and a lower rate of problems. Because most of the research reviewed focuses on alcoholism, instead of looking at alcohol-related problems in general, the picture provided by these studies is limited. Taking into consideration the results of this research and its methodological limitations, suggestions for the development of epidemiological research on alcohol in Latin America are provided. These include the development of a clearinghouse for the scientific literature on alcohol, the increase in training opportunities for researchers and re-focusing alcohol studies to include a broader range of alcohol problems.
|Number of pages||22|
|Journal||Revista de la Sanidad de las Fuerzas Policiales|
|Publication status||Published - 1985|
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