Profile of Drug Abusers
For the year 2020, a total of fifty (50) treatment and rehabilitation facilities reported to the Treatment and Rehabilitation Admission Information System (TRAIS). Of this, forty-eight (48) are residential and two (2) are outpatient.
From the facilities reporting, a total of two thousand, three hundred eighty-five (2,385) admissions were recorded. Eighty-one percent (80.50%) of this are new cases, less than one percent (0.84%) are readmitted or relapse cases and around nineteen percent (18.66%) have undergone treatment in an outpatient facility. Though some facilities have reported that they have no admissions for the year.
The pandemic that affected not only the country but the global community has caused a significant decline of more than half or fifty-four percent (54.37%) in admission as compared to the previous year. As part of the protocol and response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Health issued Department Memorandum No. 2020-0118 dated March 17, 2020 entitled: “Suspension of Admissions and Group Activities in all Drug Abuse Treatment and Rehabilitation Centers, Outpatient Treatment and Rehabilitation Facilities, and Community Based Drug Rehabilitation Centers and Community Based Recovery Clinics and other Guidelines During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Situation”. With this directive, there were some government drug treatment and rehabilitation centers that were used as COVID-19 facilities and the rests continued to admit clients during the latter part of the year.
The center admissions comprised of eighty-eight percent (87.84%) males, around twelve percent (11.78%)% females, and less than one percent (0.38%) of LGBT. The ratio of male to female is 7:1 with a computed mean and median of 33 years old. The youngest admission for the year under review is 6 years old while the eldest is 67. The highest percentage belongs to age group of 40 years old and above with twenty-nine percent (28.97%).
Fifty-one percent (50.73%) of the total admitted cases are single and around twenty-six percent (25.79%) are married, followed by those who have live-in partners with eighteen percent (17.95%), and the rest which comprised of about six percent (5.53%) are either widow/er, separated, divorced or annulled.
As to educational attainment, twenty-seven percent (27.25%) of the center clients have attained high school level, followed by those who have reached college (20.96%) and those who have graduated high school (18.03%).
The average monthly family income as reported by the clients is more than fifteen thousand pesos (Php 15,442.94).
With regard to the status of employment, those employed (either workers/employees or businessman and self-employed) comprised sixty-three percent (62.68%) while thirty-one percent (31.32%) unemployed. Four percent (4.49%) of the admission constitute students and one percent (1.17%) out-of-school youth while few (0.25%) did not disclose their status of employment.
Around twenty-three percent (23.02%) of reported cases are resident of the National Capital Region while twenty-one percent (20.67%) from Region XI.
As regards to the age when client first tried drugs, forty-one percent (40.55%) belong to age 15 to 19 years old. Almost thirty-seven percent (36.90%) claimed that they have taken drugs 2 to 5 times a week while twenty-seven percent (26.54%) take it on a monthly basis and sixteen percent (15.93%) on a daily basis.
Most Commonly Abused Drugs
The primary drug of abuse remains to be Methamphetamine Hydrochloride, commonly known as “Shabu” which comprised of eighty-nine percent (89.18%) of the total admission, followed by Cannabis (Marijuana) at twenty-five percent (25.32%). Surprisingly, Codeine Phosphate with one percent (1.47%) appeared to be the third choice of drug. The seemingly preventive response for flu-like symptoms which are common in COVID-19 may be one of the reasons that made this drug among the top three drugs commonly used by center clients during the reporting year.
Mono drug use is still the nature of drug taking and the routes of administration are inhalation/sniffing and oral ingestion.