The project, â€śThe Household Survey on the Nature and Extent of Drug Abuse in the Philippines,â€ť was conducted to determine the nature and extent of drug abuse in the country after the enactment of RA 9165. More specifically, it tried to ascertain the number and national estimates of lifetime prevalent and current users in the country.
This study delves deeper on the reason/s for continued Nalbuphine Hydrochloride abuse in Cebu City and also Metro Manila. Primary sources of data were self-confessed Nalbuphine Hydrochloride users confined in the different rehabilitation centers in Cebu City and one in Metro Manila. Law enforcement officials and the heads of rehabilitation centers under study served as secondary sources of data. Documentary analysis of existing information on Nalbuphine Hydrochloride abuse was also utilized in the study.
This study was carried out as one of the activities under the Dangerous Drugs Board project, Integrated Drug Abuse Data Information Network. This is in line with the UNODC F-97 project, â€śImproving ATS Data and Information Systems.â€ť
The study determined the nature of drug abuse among selected children ages 17 and below using both qualitative and quantitative research methods. This was undertaken in Metro Manila, Cebu, Olongapo, and San Pablo City.
Specifically, the study analyzed the following:
- The demographic characteristics of selected community-based (living with family) street-based (living on the street) and center-based (confined in the institution) children 17 years of age and below who have tried drugs or have continued using drugs.
- Childrenâ€™s most commonly used or abused drugs.
- The perceived level of drug abuse problem in the barangay or areas frequented by the respondents.
- The consequences or contributing factors which led children to stay on streets.
- The hazards or the risks faced by children on the streets.
As evidenced by the findings of the study, the following represents the demographic characteristics of the respondents:
- Mostly males, the youngest was 4 years, the oldest was 16 years while the mean or the average age was 13.5 years;
- Those who were in the institutions were either abandoned or living with other children on the streets before they were brought to the centers. For the community-based, they lived with their families in the slum areas. As to the street children, they viewed the streets as their home or were forced to live on the streets after calamities (fire, typhoons, eruption of volcano) displaced their families.
- The occupations of parents of these children were drivers, scavengers, and laundrywomen. Others were jobless and plain housewives. Their average daily income is Php 152.82 (USD 3.38).
- As to education, majority of the children have reached elementary level.
On the Prevalence of Drug Abuse
Both the qualitative and quantitative data revealed the following:
Majority of the respondents who were utilized in the focus group discussions and key informant approach have tried drugs and were still using drugs prior to their admission/referral to the centers. Curiosity, peer group pressure, and the desire to forget hunger or to forget problems were the reasons given for trying drugs. Inhalants, like solvents, were the first drugs tried by the respondents.
â€˘ Of the 316 respondents, 201 or 72.5% have tried drugs. The distribution of respondents who have tried drugs are as follows: Metro Manila, 108 or (34.1%); Cebu, 71 (22.4%); Olongapo, 19 (6%); and San Pablo, 3 (1%). The highest prevalence of drug abuse is on those based on the centers or children brought to the centers due to drug abuse problem (36.5%).
â€˘ Inhalants like solvents were the first drugs tried by children belonging to the age group 12 and below; while Cannabis (Marijuana) and Methamphetamine Hydrochloride were abused by those belonging to age groups 13 up to 16 years.
â€˘ Peer pressure, curiosity and influence by an older or younger sibling were the reasons given for initial drug use.
â€˘ For those who have tried drugs, 40.3% (129) have continued to abuse drugs. With regard to drugs commonly abused, 14.37% admitted to have abused inhalants weekly while 7.81% continued to abuse Shabu 2-3 times a week.
â€˘ Peer group pressure, habitual drug use, and the need to forget hunger were the reasons given for their continued use of drugs.
On the Perceived Level of Drug Abuse in the Barangay
Majority of the respondents in the focus group discussions were aware that their barangays (smallest political unit) or the places they used to frequent have a drug abuse problem.
On Risks or Hazards Faced by Children on the Streets
As evidenced by the focus group discussions, the children were very much exposed to vices like drug abuse, and juvenile crimes like pick pocketing, shoplifting and snatching or in the case of females, prostitution.
Findings revealed that most of the children abusing drugs lived in slum areas. Thus, drug abuse prevention programs of the government, particularly of the Dangerous Drugs Board and other concerned agencies, should be focused on these areas. Second, the results of the study pointed out to the hazards faced by children on the streets like being exposed to drugs and other vices. It is recommended that strict curfew hours for children aged 17 and below be implemented or if already existing, the same be strictly implemented. Moreover, alternative programs or livelihood opportunities for these children as well as their families should be provided by the local government concerned. Third, the government, particularly the Department of Education and the Department of Social Welfare and Development, should also look into the possibility of conducting a mobile schooling program on the high-risk areas frequented by the children.