RP tops list of drug users

The Philippines ranked No. 1 in Southeast Asia as the country with the most number of drug users based on the 2008 World Drug report released by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), however, is not convinced about the finding.

Based on the UN report, prevalence of amphetamine abuse in the Philippines was found to be at 6 percent of the population aged 15 to 64 years old. Amphetamine is a “racemic compound or one of its derivatives [as dextroamphetamine or methamphetamine] frequently abused as a stimulant of the central nervous system but used clinically especially as the sulfate or hydrochloride salt to treat hyperactive children and the symptoms of narcolepsy and as a short-term appetite suppressant in dieting.”

The number for the Philippines is far greater than that of second-placed Thailand with 0.8 percent, followed by the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, or Laos with 0.7 percent, Cambodia with 0.6 percent and Myanmar and Vietnam each with 0.2 percent.

The report said that from the 20,000 drug users in the Philippines in 1972, the number climbed up to 6.7 million in 2004, meaning that one in every 29 Filipinos aged 10 to 44 was on drugs.

It added that the preferred illegal substances of Filipinos were methampethamine hydrochloride, popularly called “shabu,” and marijuana.

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