Adriano O. MaldanerI, *; Luciana L. SchmidtI; Marco A. F. LocatelliII; Wilson F. JardimII; Fernando F. SodréIII; Fernanda V. AlmeidaIII; Carlos Eduardo B. PereiraIV; Cristiano M. SilvaIV
Estimating the amount of illicit drugs used by a certain population is one of the main challenges to forensic scientists working with law enforcement. The indicators normally used to follow up and evaluate the results of the police efforts, such as the news concerning the 20 tons of cocaine seized by the Brazilian Federal Police in 2008,1 are usually “out of perspective” and not reliable to estimate the total amount of drugs that really reaches the illicit market. Even in very expressive seizures it is difficult to evaluate the real impact of the apprehension on illicit traffic or drug consumption.
A biased estimation of the quantity of illicit drugs used by a population, indication of “hot spots” of the geographical distribution of the most used illicit drugs, such as cocaine, cannabis, LSD and amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS), can be used to guide law enforcement operations and public policies. In Brazil, obtaining realistic drug consumption indicators is not only critical, but imperative to subsidize the allocation of finite resources to obtain the best results from both health and public education initiatives.