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Analysis and Profiles of Drug Users in a Population of Victims of Forced Displacement in Colombia

Castaño, Guillermo A. PhD; Rojas, Luz A. MSc; Sierra, Gloria M. MSc; Bareño, José MSc

Addictive Disorders & Their Treatment: June 2019 - Volume 18 - Issue 2 - p 63–69
doi: 10.1097/ADT.0000000000000151
Original Articles

Introduction: This study aims to further differentiate the profiles of drug users based on sociodemographic factors associated with displacement and mental health disorders, which, within the context of this research, appear to be relevant when considering substance use.

Objectives: To classify a sample of the population of victims of armed displacement in Colombia into homogenous groups through an interdependent multivariate cluster analysis, taking into account substance use in the last year.

Methods: The data are taken from a study involving 1026 people between the ages of 13 and 65 that was designed to investigate the mental health and drug use patterns of populations displaced by the armed conflict in Colombia in 3 cities: Bogotá, Medellín, and Buenaventura. This study selected 540 cases presenting with at least 1 instance of alcohol, tobacco, or illicit substance use in the last year.

Results: Cluster analysis identified 5 alcohol, 5 tobacco, and 4 illicit substance use groups. Age, sex, occupation, and some variables related to displacement were associated with the use of these substances. Considering illicit substances, cluster 2 is the group with the most characteristics in common; as such, interventions for this group should be prioritized in public health policies aimed at this population.

Conclusions: There are specific groups of substance users in populations that have been the victim of forced displacement in Colombia

Mental Health Research Group, CES University, Medellín, Colombia

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Reprints: Guillermo A. Castaño, PhD, Universidad CES Calle, 10 A No 22, 04, Medellín, 050021 Colombia (e-mail:

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