How Bad Really is the Philippines’ Drug Problem?

How bad really is the Drug Problem here in the Philippines, especially when compared to that of other countries? The way Rodrigo Duterte and his Dutertards have been portraying the issue, the country is supposedly now near becoming a “Narco State”.

Well, the website “Recovery Brands” collected data from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and presented this in an article.[1] The most interesting part of that article is an Infographic showing the “Drug Use per Country” based on the type of Drug, which I am reposting here.

Drug Use per Country

Now, if you look at the data, the Philippines is NUMBER TWO in the number of users of AMPHETAMINES (Shabu) with an estimated 2% of the population using it, so we really do have a drug problem. However, it seems that the only drug that most Filipinos use is Shabu, and not the others like Cannabis (Marijuana), Cocaine, Ecstacy, etc.

Also, while we are number two in the list, there are other countries close to our number of users with more than 2% of their population using Shabu, and these are AUSTRALIA, NEW ZEALAND, and the UNITED STATES.

If we look at other drugs like Cocaine, for example, there are six countries where at least 2% of their population is using drugs, and these are SCOTLAND, SPAIN, the UNITED STATES, ENGLAND AND WALES, AUSTRALIA, URUGUAY.

The numbers are even shocking for Marijuana where there are SEVEN countries where at least TEN PERCENT of their population use it. These countries are AUSTRALIA, BERMUDA, CANADA, NIGERIA, NEW ZEALAND, the UNITED STATES and ICELAND.

Based on this, it seems we really do have a drug problem, certainly the worst in Asia right now. HOWEVER, does this problem merit us prioritizing solving it OVER other problems in the country like POVERTY, URBAN CONGESTION, etc.? Does the problem merit using Extra Judicial Killings (EJK) in order to “cleanse” the country of Drug Addiction? I certainly don’t think so.

I mean, look at countries like the US, Australia, Spain, England, etc., where at least 2% of their population end up using the more potent drug Cocaine, do you see them doing the same?

Or how about the issue of Marijuana, can you imagine countries like Canada, New Zealand, etc. where at least 10% of their population use it? That means at least one in every ten people in those countries use the drug.

You also need to take a very close look at Australia and the US, where they are always on the top ten list regardless of which drug it is, whether it is Shabu, Marijuana, Ecstacy, Opium, etc. The way I see it, those two countries have FAR WORST of a drug problem than we do. And yet do you see them end up having the same kind of a Drug War that we have now?

‘Parting Shot’
Yes, we do have a drug problem, and it needs to be addressed. However, I don’t think it is the kind of problem where we need to take extraordinary measures to solve, certainly not like what is happening right now wherein we are resorting to EJKs to try to solve it.

Other countries with worst drug problems have managed to carry far better than us, so why are we taking a far more potent reaction to it than they do? Because the drug problem now is more than just a health or societal issue, it has become a POLITICAL issue that is being EXPLOITED to further the political aspirations of some groups here in the country. It is a simple as that.


^[1] Drug Treatment Trends by Country,


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