1.7 M drug users in Philippines – DDB

The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The prevalence of drug use in the country increased in 2015, according to the latest survey of the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB).

The prevalence rate increased to 2.3 percent – representing 1.76 million individuals – from 1.8 percent or 1.3 million drug addicts in 2012, the last time the DDB conducted a survey.

The DDB survey also indicated that more than 4.74 million persons in the country, or 6.1 percent of the population aged 10-69, have used illegal drugs at least once in their lifetime.

The drug agency’s survey also noted that weaknesses in the implementation of anti-drug policies still exist, primarily the extended destruction period for seized drugs, which opens up the risk for the drugs to be either lost, resold or taken back by drug lords and traffickers.

The survey also cited the slow justice system, particularly in carrying out sentences on drug-related cases.

Out of 48,532 drug-related cases in 2015, only 178 were resolved, with some cases dating back to 2002 or the year the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act became law.

According to the DDB study, at least 34,438 individuals were arrested for shabu alone in 2015, a 17-fold increase from 4,053 arrests in 2010.

Admission in rehabilitation treatments also rose to 5,402 cases in 2015 from 3,040 five years ago.

Shabu is still the most popular drug, with a share of six out of 10 surveyed, but marijuana still had the highest trial rate, presumably due to lower cost.

Cited reasons for continued drug use were induced physical effects and influence of friends.

Among the five regions covered by the DDB survey from Dec. 5, 2015 to Feb. 5, 2016 – National Capital Region, Northern and Southern Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao – Visayas registered the highest rate of drug use prevalence, followed by NCR. – Cecille Suerte Felipe, Romina Cabrera, Christina Mendez, Edu Punay

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