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Household Survey on the Nature and Extent of Drug Abuse in the Philippines

The survey was conducted to determine the number and national estimates of current users, knowledge and perceptions on certain drug-related concerns, and patterns and consequences of drug use.

A total of 12,000 individuals served as respondents of the study. They are taken from 1,000 households with three household members belonging to the age brackets of 10-19, 20-29, and 30-44 years from NCR, Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

Findings:

    • Out of the 12,000 respondents who were interviewed, 22.96% admitted to have tried drugs once in their lifetime (lifetime prevalent users). 13.94% are current users (those who were taking drugs for the last six months prior to and at the time of the interview).
    • Pushers (42.98%) and peers (33.35%) were mentioned by current users as their source of drugs.
    • Most drug users (54.03%) reside in NCR. The distribution of current users in other regions is as follows: Region 7 (16.92%); Region 8 (9.56%); Region 9 (8.49%); CARAGA (5.08%); Region 4 (3.05%); Region 2 (2.63%); CAR (0.24%).
    • Social/peer related reasons (25.76%) are the most common cause for continued drug use, followed by substance abuse factors (20.80%), easy availability of drugs/popularity of drug abuse; and family related problems (14.52%).
    • Methamphetamine Hydrochloride (73.82%) is the top drug of choice among the current users, followed by inhalants (26%) and Marijuana (24.69%).
    • Based on the survey results, it was estimated that for Filipinos aged 10-44 years old, there were about 6,765,773* million current users. (*Based on the 2004 NSO Projection Population of 46,529,211 among 10-44 years old).

A Pilot Study on Nalbuphine Hydrocholoride (Nubain) Abuse in Cebu City and Metro Manila

The study sought to determine the extent of Nalbuphine Hydrocholoride abuse in Cebu City and ascertain the possibility of the spillover effect of its abuse, if there is, in Metro Manila and to find out the reasons why it is popular in some areas.

The primary sources of data are self-confessed Nubain users (N=116) confined in the different rehabilitation centers in Cebu City and one in Metro Manila during the project period. Law enforcement officials and the heads of rehabilitation centers under study served as secondary sources of data. The documentary analysis of existing information on Nubain abuse was also utilized.

Findings:

    • The profile of Nubain abusers did not differ from that of a typical drug abuser.
    • The Nalbuphine Hydrochloride abusers were identified to be primarily from Cebu City only. Those interviewed in Manila were found to have abused the drug in Cebu also.
    • The availability of Nalbuphine Hydrochloride and the relatively easy means of retailing it in Cebu added up to its being endemic in the area.
    • Nalbuphine Hydrochloride abusers were at risk of contracting contagious diseases because of the unhealthy practice of needle sharing.

Factors Contributory to Drug User’s Refusal to Submit for Rehabilitation: A First Approximation

The study aimed to identify the reasons/factors why drug users refuse to be rehabilitated. The primary respondents (N=100) are identified drug users but had no previous history of admission to a treatment facility for their drug problem. However, due to the limitations encountered in the course of this study, first timers and newly admitted clients in two rehabilitation centers were also considered. Secondary respondents (N=100) were also taken and are composed mainly of their immediate families, nearest relatives, and/or closest friends to validate/confirm their responses.

Findings:

    • Findings revealed that most of the primary respondents (21%) could not afford to undergo rehabilitation due to financial constraints or poverty. Many of the families of these users are jobless and are in need of financial assistance.
    • Another major factor for their refusal to undergo rehabilitation is that they are afraid because they have no idea about what treatment and rehabilitation is (21%). They have the negative impression that patients are physically harmed inside the center.
    • Others claimed that they could control their drug taking behavior (20%) while there are those who do not really want to change or stop their vice (12%). This is a manifestation of the “denial” syndrome that characterized drug dependents. They refuse to believe that they are sick and are in need of professional help. They maintain their resistance to get rid of the drug habit and this served as a major obstacle in any attempt at treatment and rehabilitation.