In 1972, the drug problem was just at its incipient stage, with only 20,000 drug users and marijuana as the top choice among the users in the Philippines. This was the drug scenario when Republic Act 6425, otherwise known as the “Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972” was approved on March 30, 1972.
Following the proclamation of Martial Law and the promulgation of Presidential Decree No. 44, amending RA 6425, the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos, organized the Dangerous Drugs Board on November 14, 1972 under the Office of the President.
The DDB was mandated to be the policy-making and coordinating agency as well as the national clearing house on all matters pertaining to law enforcement and control of dangerous drugs; treatment and rehabilitation of drug dependents; drug abuse prevention, training and information; research and statistics on the drug problem and the training of personnel engaged in these activities.
Seven national agencies in the country formed part of the Dangerous Drugs Board. These are the Department of Health, Department of Social Service and Development, Department of Education, Culture and Sports, Department of Justice, Department of National Defense, Department of Finance and the National Bureau of Investigation.
In the same year, Presidential Proclamation No. 1192 declaring every second week of November of every year as Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Week, was promulgated. This, we celebrate every year along with our anniversary.
Since its creation, the DDB has led the national advocacy against drug abuse by establishing a responsive and dynamic partnership between the government and the society.
From law enforcement to preventive education and treatment and rehabilitation – the seventies have been witnessed to a number of programs launched by the Board in partnership with other agencies and organizations.
In 1974, the Inter-Agency Committee on Drug Abuse Prevention Education was formed to strengthen the relationship among the various agencies and the Dangerous Drugs Board.
As it responds to the drug abuse situation in the country, efforts of the DDB are also recognized by counterparts abroad and other international agencies.
The Colombo Plan Drug Advisory Programme funded the First National Workshop on Drug Abuse Prevention Education, organized by the DDB. It is also in this decade when the DDB hosted an international program, the Fourth Regional International Drug Enforcement Association Conference.
With then First Lady and Metro Manila Governor Imelda R. Marcos waging an all-out campaign against drug abuse, Anti-Drug Abuse Councils in all cities and municipalities in Metro Manila were established.
In 1982, another procedural amendment to RA 6425 was made through Batas Pambansa 179 which itemized prohibited drugs and its derivatives. Narcotics preparations such as opiates, opium poppy straw, leaves or wrappings, whether prepared for use or not were classified as dangerous drugs.
The number of methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu users was also seen to have increased in this decade. Given this, the government with the help of other social agencies have also heightened drug abuse prevention and information program.
It is also during this decade when we started to celebrate the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking or IDADAIT along with other United Nations member countries in the world.
With “pop” culture on the rise during the 90's, the need for creative and innovative programs that can compete with the different messages that seek to capture people’s interest and attention has become DDB's main task.
In 1995, the DDB launched “Oplan Iwas Droga” which has become the national flagship program on drug abuse prevention. A mascot was created to stand as an icon or representation of the program. The mascot was named KID Listo. KID being an acronym for Kalaban ng Ilegal na Droga.
KID Listo was brought to different schools and communities all over the country to promote the anti-drug advocacy.
A citizen’s movement against drugs dubbed as “Mamamayan Ayaw sa Droga” or MAD also gained popularity during the latter part of the decade. This movement was a product of the collaboration of agencies such as the Department of the Interior and Local Government, Philippine National Police, National Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Immigration, National Prosecution Service, Bureau of Customs and the Dangerous Drugs Board that comprised the National Drug Law Enforcement and Prevention Coordinating Center, created by virtue of Executive Order No. 61 in January 1999.
In 1998, the five pillar global drug control approach –Drug Supply Reduction, Drug Demand Reduction, Alternative Development, Civic Awareness and Response, and Regional and International Cooperation – was adopted by the ASEAN and China Cooperative Operations in Response to Dangerous Drugs (ACCORD) in which the Philippines is a member during the UN General Assembly Special Session on Drugs. These are strategies which have continued to prove relevant and effective in addressing the country’s problem on drugs up to the present.
The new millennium has truly brought a lot of changes including in the field of drug prevention and control. In 2002, Republic Act 9165 or the “Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002” repealed RA 6425.
RA 9165 expanded the membership of the Board to include the agencies such as the Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Foreign Affairs, Commission on Higher Education, National Youth Commission, and the newly established Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency. The law also streamlined the functions of the Board and ushered in new programs and initiatives.
To get by with the fast changing and developing phase of this decade, the DDB launched a number of programs that utilize the power of technology to improve processes, share drug data and information and also elicit people’s participation.
Motivated by the public’s increasing participation in anti-drug advocacy programs, the DDB Drug Information Action Line or DDB-DIAL was launched. This is an action center created to receive reports and complaints related to drug abuse as well as to provide relevant information and assistance to the public.
Another significant project developed by the Board within this decade is the Integrated Drug Abuse Data and Information Network or IDADIN. The IDADIN is an online drug data pooling and collection system that allows better management and assessment of the over-all drug demand and supply reduction efforts undertaken by the government.
It is designed as an online or web-enabled reporting system and consists of thirteen interactive forms. Quarterly reports come from public and private hospitals, forensic and drug testing laboratories, treatment and rehabilitation centers, law enforcement and prosecution agencies and prison population profile from municipal, city and provincial jails. The IDADIN has allowed easier processing of drug data, and ensured up-to-date statistics and convenient reporting.
The network of anti-drug advocates and warriors also continue to grow. Through the flagship program of the Board, the Barkada Kontra Droga or Peer Group Against Drugs, more and more Filipinos are tapped as potent allies in the anti-drug campaign.
Barkada Kontra Droga is a peer-based program designed as a preventive education and information strategy to counter the dangers and disastrous effects of drug abuse. It aims to empower individuals to be catalysts within their peer groups in advocating healthy, drug-free lifestyles through involvement in various wholesome activities.
Under the administration of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, drug prevention and control has become a top priority of the government. The anti-drug campaign has been enhanced and strengthened through the collaboration of national government agencies as well as the support of non-government organizations, faith-based groups and the private sector.
Several policies have been instituted under this administration including the establishment of community-based treatment and rehabilitation programs and services by local government units and the institutionalization of Drug-Free Workplace Policies in all government offices, including the conduct of authorized drug testing for elective local officials and appointive public officers.
This regulation aims to promote the establishment and institutionalization of drug-free workplace policies in all government agencies and ensure that all public officers, both elective and appointive, remain drug-free through the conduct of authorized drug testing pursuant to the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 or Republic Act 9165. With this, the public will be ensured of effective and efficient service from government workers who are free from the influence and ill effects of illegal drugs.
During this administration, the national plan of action against drugs was revisited and a new framework of action was established. Known as the Philippine Anti-Illegal Drugs Strategy or PADS which has been institutionalized by virtue of Executive Order Number 66, signed by President Duterte on 29 October 2018, the plan of action sets our goal in creating drug-free communities by 2022.
This anti-illegal drug plan provides a roadmap for national collaboration and was designed to harmonize drug initiatives with the overarching Social Development Agenda and the National Security Policy. It institutionalizes a convergence system for the implementation of anti-drug programs and revitalizes the roles of government agencies. It spells out diverse but complementary approaches that must be integrated to deliver an effective anti-drug package of programs and reforms for the country.