Psychotropic drug use was investigated using a two-stage survey of a random sample of persons aged 17 and over from a rural Spanish community. It was found that 6.9%, 11.8% and 25.1% of the population were consuming psychotropic, analgesic and somatic medicines respectively. Women presented a higher rate of psychotropic use than men (prevalence for women 10.7%, for men 2.6%). This female predominance was found to be significantly related to sociodemographic and medical factors. Psychotropic use was also associated with the physical health of the respondent. The coexistence of physical and mental illness generated an increase of consumption, whereas the absence of both types of illness was associated with a very low rate. The rates for physical and for mental illness alone were intermediate and were almost equal.