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Huge drop in drug use among Filipino youth – survey

Over an 11-year period, there was slight decline in smoking and drinking among young people, but a significant drop in drug use, a nationwide survey shows

LESS SMOKERS? Compared to young Filipinos a decade ago, the youth of today seems to be smoking less

MANILA, Philippines – The results of a nationwide survey releases on Thursday, February 6, showed a drop in vices, particularly drug abuse, among Filipino youth and young adults in the last 11 years.

Nimfa Ogena of the University of the Philippines Population Institute (UPPI), one of the two organizations that conducted the survey, said, “Perhaps smoking, drinking, and drug use have become too expensive for them, the youth has found other vices, or they are just getting more responsible.”

The 2013 Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality Study (YAFS) had 19,178 respondents ages 15-24.

Done by UPPI and the Demographic Research & Development Foundation, it also showed that young Filipinos are using technology and the Internet to explore other forms of sexual behaviors. (READ: Young, tech-savvy Filipinos more sexually active than you think)

The survey showed only a slight decline in the number of young people who are current smokers, from 20.9% in 2002 – when the 3rd YAFS was conducted – to 19.7% in 2013.

Metro Manila recorded the highest proportion of youth smokers at 26.6%, while ARMM recorded the lowest at 12.5%.

Since the study was done in 2013 – the year sin tax was implemented – higher excise taxes might explain why young Filipinos who are still in high school or college, or young professionals starting their career in the workforce, were discouraged from smoking. (READ: A year of sin tax: Too early to assess public health impact)

The number of current alcohol drinkers, on the other hand, has declined significantly from 41% to 37%.

The most substantial decline was found in drug use, with only 4% of young Filipinos admitting to the act as compared to almost 11% in 2002.

Ogena said the initial findings should give adults less reason to worry about the state of young people, although further analysis has yet to be done to explain the pattern in these risk behaviors.

In 2013, the Department of Health launched “Pilipinas Go4Health,” a nationwide health lifestyle movement that encourages Filipinos to “go smoke-free” and “go slow sa tagay (in drinking)” to prevent chronic lifestyle-related noncommunicable diseases (NCDs).

According to the World Health Organization, NCDs account for 60% of total deaths globally, with 40 million deaths estimated every year. It also contributes to 40% of universal disease burden annually. –

Kid asking smoker to stop image from Shutterstock

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