latest blog post you are aware that Colombia has about 540,000 drug consumers. Of those, about half (297,000) are drug addicts. This graph I made shows the percentage of total drug consumers (yellow) as well as drug addicts (orange) as a portion of consumers. The white line also shows the average prevalence of drug consumption across all age cohorts.
Drug consumption is much more prevalent among young people, especially those aged between 18 and 24. Also, it is clear that people aged between 12 and 34 have higher-than-average drug use prevalence. The older the person, the smaller the chance that he or she is a drug consumer or an addict. Colombians who are 35 or older have a lower-than-average drug use prevalence.
As the graph shows drug addicts as a portion of drug consumers, this means that the observable part of the yellow graph is actually showing you the proportion of "recreational" drug users (i.e., those who do drugs occasionally and just for fun). It is interesting to see that as you go up the age ladder, the number of recreational users diminishes significantly, which means that it is mostly the young who do drugs on occasion. The partying and the search for new experiences surely lead more young people to try drugs. Older people are much less prone to using drugs recreationally, so that prevalence in ages 45 and up is mostly taken up by drug addicts alone.
The question is how will this picture change in the future? If those aged 18-24 are drug addicts today, it is likely that in 10 or 20 years they continue to be addicted (those who live to tell the tale). Therefore, this means that in the future, drug use prevalence among people ages 35 and up could be much higher than it is today. Unless some serious efforts are made in drug demand reduction and rehabilitation for current drug addicts, we may be looking at a much more bleak picture in a decade or two.
The source of this data is the Estudio Nacional de Consumo de Sustancias Psicoactivas