New study reveals Chilean youth alcohol behaviors

Party in the water

Isabel Cocker/The Santiago Times

SANTIAGO – About 28 percent of young people have been driven in a car by someone they know to be drunk, according to figures released on Friday by the National Institute of Youth (INJUV), under the Ministry for Development.

The Institute surveyed 1,125 people between the ages of 15 and 29 across a range of genders, socio-economic class, and geographic location for the study, called “Perceptions of the consumption of drugs, and exposure to risk”.

It revealed that the drug perceived as “least dangerous” was marijuana, with 78% of those surveyed considering that youths in Chile consume it very frequently. In comparison, the drug judged to be “most harmful” was cocaine paste (called Pasta base) with 70% of the respondents classing it as either first or second most dangerous.

However, 73% also responded “agree” or “agree strongly” to the statement that “Legal drugs, like alcohol or cigarettes, are equally as dangerous as illegal drugs”. Nearly 10% of those who responded to the survey indicated that in the last 12 months they had lost memories and “blacked out” as a result of drinking.

The National Director of INJUV, Nicolás Farfán, stated that “according to the latest study by CONASET, traffic incidents involving young people have risen by 50%, and is the largest cause of death for the age group. It is because of this that, especially during the Fiestas Patrias and taking into account the moments of leisure to which all young people have a right to enjoy, we are encouraging self-control. If you are going to drink alcohol, don’t put your life, or that of others around you, in any dangerous situation.”

Speaking to Tele13 radio, Farfán added that “the figures have shown us that immunity doesn’t exist. You may not drink, but you still get into the car driven by someone who has drunk. The problem is not who about is driving, the problem is not about who is the passenger, the problem is about the vehicle or cyclist which you could crash into.”

The full survey can be found on the INJUV website: