The Americas

Mexico drug use survey shows steep rise

Mexico has opened a formal debate on marijuana after the country's latest drug use survey showed 17.2 percent of middle- and high-school students report having used drugs. Marijuana was the drug most frequently reported.

The series of five public debates on marijuana policy started Tuesday with a meeting in the resort city of Cancun attended by Interior Secretary Miguel Angel Osorio Chong. He appeared to support medicinal marijuana.

Osorio Chong said "there appears to a majority opinion internationally about its therapeutic benefits."

The Health Department says 160,000 students were interviewed for the 2014 survey, and 10.6 of those said they had used marijuana, 5.8 reported sniffing glue or other substances, and 3.3 said they had consumer cocaine.

The usage rate reported for males was 18.6 percent and 15.9 for women.