BACKGROUND: Research has demonstrated that entrance into college is a critical period in which the student is vulnerable to initiating and continued alcohol and other drug usage. There have been large household surveys and surveys among high school students in Brazil during the last 20 years however, research regarding drug consumption among college students is represented by data solely from the last ten years. OBJECTIVES: The goal of this study was to review the evolution of these studies and to relate them to the principal results found in reference to the need for new research by which to profile university students with respect to drug consumption. METHODS: A literature review of the databases MEDLINE, LILACS, PubMed, and Scirus from 1997 to 2007. RESULTS: Twelve publications regarding drug consumption among Brazilian college students were found. They are presented as studies of prevalence in usage, and of risk behavior but, do not characterize this population faithfully. CONCLUSIONS: There is a need for further studies which allow comparisons between surveys in order to make adjustments in prevention programs of this community possible; that promote the improvement of quality of life; and that develop new preventive efforts. Follow-up surveys can bring new light to bear on how the variables behave over time and make tendency evaluations possible, which in turn could constitute studies in series.
Alcohol; illicit drugs; tobacco; university students; Brazil