In Palayan summit, PDEA says PH drug woes worsen

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PALAYAN CITY—The Philippines’ problem on illegal drugs may be worse than China as a 2008 survey of the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) showed at least 1.7 million drug users, a top official of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) said.

“It turns out that the Philippines’ drug problem is worse because we have 1.7 million users as against our population of 98 million. China, on the other hand, has a population of 1 billion and they only have 650,000 users,” PDEA Chief Arturo Cacdac said during an anti-illegal drugs summit organized by the city government on Tuesday.

Mayor Adrianne Cuevas organized the summit at Nueva Ecija Convention Center here amid reports that six of this city’s 19 villages have problems on illegal drugs.

Cacdac said he was alarmed over the high rate of drug addiction in the country as shown by the 2008 household survey data of the DDB.

He said China, like most countries, determines the number of drug users by listing people tested positive for substance use, as against the Philippines’ household survey.

Of the country’s 42,024 villages, Cacdac said, 7,585 or 18 percent are considered “drug affected.”

“The worst case is Metro Manila, where 98 percent of villages are drug affected,” he said. He said PDEA records showed that 168 of 849 villages in Nueva Ecija province are drug affected.

Cacdac said the family and the community play a big role in stopping the problem on illegal drugs.

He urged community members to help PDEA in stopping the demand for illegal drugs under the “supply reduction-demand reduction scheme.”

He said PDEA and other law enforcement agencies would shift their drive to arresting smugglers and producers of illegal drugs. “Please take care of demand reduction and we will focus on supply reduction,” he said.

Cacdac urged parents to avoid vices and act as role models to their children.

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