THE number of drug addicts in villages across the country have increased, even as Metro Manila residents think there are fewer drug addicts in their communities, a nationwide survey taken in the last quarter of 2017 revealed.
The Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey released on Friday showed that families in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao believed that “presence of drug addicts in their neighborhoods” has become greater than before.
In Luzon, the number of drug addicts rose by 11 percentage points to 45 percent in December 2017 from 34 percent in September 2017, according to the survey.
The SWS, however, noted that the “annual average presence of addicts” in Luzon was at 46 percent, which was way below the 54.5 percent average in 2016. It added that the rate was also the lowest since the 42.3 percent average in 2013.
In the Visayas, the survey recorded that the presence of addicts rose by three percentage points to 43 percent in December 2017 from 40 percent in September 2017.
In Mindanao, the survey revealed that the number of drug addicts rose also by three percentage points to 30 percent in December 2017 from 27 percent in September 2017.
But the SWS likewise noted that annual averages for both regions were at 41.5 percent in Visayas, and 37.3 percent in Mindanao for 2017 – way below their recorded averages in 2016, which was 56 percent in the Visayas and 51 percent in Mindanao.
Further, the SWS said that the 2017 average of Visayas was also the lowest since the 30.5 percent annual average in 2012, while the average in Mindanao was also the lowest since the 33.3 percent annual average in 2011.
Sought for comment, Supt. Reyman Tolentin, information officer of the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7), said they were doing their best to lessen, if not to eradicate, the volume of shabu that comes to the region.
“If the people feel that the number of drug addicts in their places has increased, then we will validate that,” he said in an interview on Friday.
Based on the records of PRO-7, about 100,000 drug dependents have surrendered to authorities since President Rodrigo Duterte assumed his post in July 2016.
At present, Tolentin said only less a thousand drug users who were in the police’s drugs watchlist in the region have yet to surrender to the police.
“We will come up with a new list of drug users in the region with the help of the local government units,” he said.
Tolentin assured the public that there will be no let up in their campaign against the narcotics trade.
Families in Metro Manila, meanwhile, think the presence of drug addicts in their communities have decreased. The survey said the rate fell by 12 percentage points to 50 percent in December 2017 from 62 percent in September 2017.
This brought the 2017 average presence of drug addicts in Metro Manila to a record low of 57.8 percent, according to the SWS.
“This is 12.2 points below the record-high 70 (percent) annual average in 2016, and 0.2 point below the previous record-low annual average of 58 (percent) in 2006,” it pointed out.
No attribution, however, was indicated by the SWS as to why the interviewed adults think there were more or less drug addicts in their communities.
The survey, conducted from Dec. 8-16, 2017, used face-to-face interviews of 1,200 adults (18 years old and above) nationwide. It has a margin of error of plus or minus three percent nationwide, plus or minus four percent for Luzon, and plus or minus six percent each for Metro Manila, Visayas and Mindanao.