Is drug addiction in the Philippines really a problem?
The daily news on both traditional and social media always contain drug incidents in the Philippines. The Philippine government is very strong in its campaign against illegal drugs. Drug addiction is one of the biggest problems in the country. Or, does a drug addiction in the Philippines really a problem?
The latest statistics on drug addiction in the country shows that there are more than a million drug users in the Philippines. The data was gathered by the Nationwide Survey on the Nature and Extent of Drug Abuse. In the same report, the agency reported that the 1.8 million drug users are adolescents and adults.
Drug users are people who use illegal drugs. But to what extent will a person who uses drugs be considered a “drug addict”?
What is drug addiction?
Drug addiction is a psychological problem characterized by a drug-seeking appetite that is in most cases difficult to control. This is the reason why a drug addict continues to use the drug regardless of the knowledge of the negative consequences.
There are many signs that pertain to drug addiction. But one of the most salient ones is dysfunctionality. A “drug addict” may not be able to function in many areas of his life including work, relationship, and academic.
Drug addiction interferes not only the physical but also the psychological health of a person. In fact, continues illegal drug use changes the chemical and biological processes of the brain.
There are many types of abused drugs. But in the Philippines, the media often reported Shabu or methamphetamine as the main drug being used by the abusers. Almost every day, millions worth of Shabu is confiscated by the authorities. The number of drug abusers is also alarming. If this lingers in the future, the country may face an adversary.
The most commonly abused drugs in the Philippines
Aside from Shabu or methamphetamine, there are other types of drugs being consumed by drug abusers. The following are some of them:
The stimulant Shabu or methamphetamine is the most common drug found in drug abusers. About 90 percent of the abusers use this drug. Shabu is addictive causing the users difficulties in controlling the compulsive behavior associated with addiction.
The common effects of Shabu in the body may include the following:
- Decreased fatigue and increased attention
- Increased wakefulness
- Poor appetite
- High level of talkativeness
- Compulsive behavior
- Speedy heartbeat
- Feelings of euphoria
When affected, some users believed that they could defy gravity and fly. This is one of the reasons why some of them died after jumping off the building.
The effect of Shabu or drug addiction is beyond physical and psychological. In a third world country like the Philippines, illegal drug addiction causes several societal and behavioral problems. In fact, drug addiction in the Philippines makes a person to:
- Become obsessed with the habit of using drugs while becoming indifferent to other things in their life
- Change from being good to a bad-natured person
- Quit his/her job and become unemployed
- Fail in academics and in their relationships
- Steal money or other valuable belonging from their friends and significant others
- Commit crime such as rape and other illegal acts
- Screw his/her own life
The social impact of drug addiction, especially in the Philippines, can be huge. On a nationwide level, drug addiction causes major problems including national economy and safety issues.
Drug addiction could become a culprit for societal peace and order. In most cases, addiction causes the abusers to commit domestic violence. In fact, most crimes reported in different media platforms are associated with drug abuse.
If the larger portion of the population becomes addicted, the country is in a great danger of losing its human capital. As a result, the government may suffer from a high level of unemployment. Curtailing the spreading drug problem also costs the government money. Millions have already been spent on law enforcement agencies just to stop this problem.
The government also spends money for the rehabilitation of the drug abusers. Fixing the mind of the abusers is just one part of the rehabilitation process. It is also vital to help those individuals to become a useful member of the society once again. So the government implements programs which aim at helping the drug abusers to reclaim their lives.
As already seen in the society, drug addiction can hurt the country. It destroys the future of the country especially those in the third world. Ultimately, drug addiction destroys human potential.
Can drug addiction in the Philippines be treated?
Like other psychological problems, drug addiction is treatable. But unlike the physical disease, this is far harder than any form of treatments. In most cases, many treatments strategies are employed to achieve the positive result.
Any treatment can only be said successful if the person will;
- Stop using the drugs
- Remain drug-free for the rest of his life
- Be productive in his family, relationship, and in his regular job
The treatment process is complex. This means that no single treatment strategy may work for all drug abusers. In many instances, the treatment involves the combination of several treatments and or intervention processes such as medication and psychological therapy.
Treatments may be more successful if combined. Thus, mental health professionals often combine medication and psychological intervention to achieve the quicker development.
Aside from these treatments, there are other treatment options available in the Philippines. There are social groups that help the drug abusers rebuild their lives. The Narcotics Anonymous is of the examples. This organization has been serving the drug abusers who want to let go of drugs.
Drug addiction in the Philippines is a serious problem. Achieving a drug-free society is not just the responsibility of the state but also for every Filipino. If no one will use illegal drugs, then the government will not waste money for rehabilitation. Above all, if drug addiction is totally stopped, then there will be no more life wasted.
I’m a licensed psychometrician, author, and blogger. I’m currently working as a University instructor teaching psychology. I love writing and doing psychological research.