The 2019 National Household Survey on the Patterns and Trends of Drug Abuse released by the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) showed that an estimated 1.67 million or two out of one hundred Filipinos aged 10 to 69 are current illegal drugs users.
In a DDB statement, the 2019 Drug Survey noted that the current user prevalence rate of 2.05 percent is significantly lower than the 2018 global estimates of 5.3 percent based on the data from the World Drug Report 2020.
“Noting the results of the 2019 Drug Survey and comparing it to the estimates of four million Filipino drug users in 2016 based on anti-drug operations and intelligence data, it shows a clear significant decline, which can be attributed to the success of the government’s anti-drug campaign and steadfast priority given by the government to create drug-free communities under the current administration,” the DDB said.
Based on the 5.8 percent lifetime user prevalence rate, DDB noted that about 4.73 million or six out of every 100 Filipinos aged 10-69 tried drugs at least once in their lives.
The DDB stressed that these results indicated high public awareness and approval of the government’s anti-drug campaign.
“It showed that the directions and programs that the government has undertaken under the current administration have been proven effective as evidenced by the public’s acceptance of the government’s anti-drug campaign and the drop in the user prevalence rate,” it added.
Based on the survey, the DDB said it can be concluded that the government not only succeeded in flattening the user prevalence rate but has also reversed the trend.
Trends in drug use
The DDB report also noted that cannabis, commonly known as marijuana, remains the most commonly abused dangerous drug (57 percent) followed by methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu (35 percent).
For lifetime users, the DDB said the average age when most of them started trying drugs is 22 years old.
“Of the current users, on the other hand, most belong to the age group of 18-59 years old,” the DDB report noted.
Perception on drug use
In terms of the general public’s awareness on dangerous drugs and substances, the DDB report revealed that shabu is the most well-known at 47.9 percent followed by marijuana at 35 percent.
“When respondents were again asked about other dangerous drugs or substances that they may be aware of they mentioned cocaine,” the DDB report noted.
“Most of the respondents are also aware of the negative effects of drug use such as problems on health, separation from family, and damage on self-image,” it added.
When asked about institutions or people that would be helpful to those who use drugs, DDB reported that 42.2 percent of the respondents consider the household to be the most helpful, followed by the police with 33.9 percent, and the local government units (LGUs) with 26.1 percent.
In an earlier letter to the Supreme Court, the DDB reiterated the implementation of Board Regulations on the disposition of confiscated dangerous drugs, controlled precursors and essential chemicals, paraphernalia, and laboratory equipment used for the manufacture of illegal substances.
“As emphasized by the President, we have to immediately dispose of seized illegal drugs to prevent pilferage and loss and to also address logistical concerns on the storage of these contrabands,” said DDB Chairman Secretary Catalino S. Cuy.
As the policy-making body on drug prevention and control, the DDB has issued regulations providing for the guidelines to carry out the purposes of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 or RA 9165, including the safekeeping, disposition, and destruction of any dangerous drugs under custody.
Board Regulation No. 1, Series of 2002, covers the guidelines on the early disposal of seized dangerous drugs and controlled chemicals.
The DDB noted that it mandates courts to conduct an ocular inspection of the confiscated contrabands including dangerous drugs, plant sources of dangerous drugs, controlled chemicals, laboratory instruments, and drug paraphernalia within 72 hours after the filing of criminal cases.