Drugs, Health and Juvenile Delinquency in Latin America

Trends, Policies and Actions

Authored by: Augusto Pérez-Góme , Juliana Mejía-Trujillo , Mónica Pérez-Trujillo , Jessica Orr

Routledge International Handbook of Delinquency and Health

Print publication date:  August  2019
Online publication date:  August  2019

Print ISBN: 9780367256920
eBook ISBN: 9780429289194
Adobe ISBN:


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There is a complex relationship between drugs and juvenile delinquency, rarely described in the Americas in countries other than the United States and Canada. In this chapter the authors examine the main patterns of drug abuse in several Latin American (LA) countries, their relationship with delinquent behavior among minors, and the associated trends in public policies. There are many differences in these regards among LA countries, and the relationship between delinquency and drugs is not an obvious one: some countries with high levels of drug use (Argentina, Chile, Uruguay) have low levels of delinquency, whilst some others have high levels of delinquency and relatively low rates of drug use (Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador). But all countries seem to be replacing the old criminal approach to drug use by a public health model, giving in this way preeminence to prevention and treatment.

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