The Duterte administration’s anti-illegal drugs campaign has significantly cut the number of drug users in the country in the last five years, a Palace official said on Tuesday.
During President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s weekly “Talk to the People”, Cabinet Secretary and Acting Presidential Spokesperson Alexei Karlo Nograles cited a study by the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB), which says the country has 1.67 million current drug users aged 10 to 69.
The data on drug dependents contained in the 2019 National Household Survey on the Patterns and Trends of Drug Abuse is much lower than the 2018 global estimates of 5.3 percent, according to Nograles.
And if this figure is compared to the lifetime user prevalence rate of 5.8 percent, it shows that 4.73 million, aged 10 to 69, tried drugs at least once in their life.
“So tama ‘yung sinabi mo, Mr. President, na ‘yung 4 million Filipino drug users in 2016, napabagsak niyo po ‘yung 4 million, now it’s down to two percent, 1.67 (million) na lang po ang estimated,” he told the President.
“So this shows the success of the government’s anti-drug programs and it indicates — in fact, the survey shows a high public awareness and approval ng government’s anti-drug campaign.”
The government not only succeeded in flattening user prevalence rate in the country, but it has also reversed the trend, Nograles argued.
Aside from doing studies and assessments, the DDB continues to support the Department of Health (DOH) and Treatment and Rehabilitation Centers across the country, as well as profile drug users.
As of September 30, 2021, there is a total of 74 accredited Drug Abuse Treatment and Rehab Centers all over the country, Nograles reported.
“So patuloy po ang pagserbisyo publiko ng DDB bagama’t may kinakaharap tayong pandemya,” he said.
“At sa gitna ng COVID-19, makakaasa po tayo na iyong mga nasimulan na mga programa ng DDB to eradicate and minimize drug supply and drug demand reduction upang makamit ang 100-percent drug-free communities sa buong bansa ay lalo pa nating pinag-iigting.”
The administration’s anti-drug campaign is anchored on the Philippine Anti-Illegal Drugs Strategy or PADS in line with the Executive Order No. 66 signed by President Duterte.
The strategy aims to institutionalize the whole-of-nation approach by pooling together government offices, departments, bureaus, agencies, government-owned and -controlled corporations, and state universities and colleges.
This year, the drug board celebrates its 49th anniversary. Based on the Republic Act 9165 or Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act, the DDB is the policy-making and strategy-formulating body for the government’s drug prevention and drug control programs. PND