PDEA says total drug users reach four million
The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) said total number of illegal drug users in the country is at four million instead of the previously reported seven to eight million.
PDEA Director General Aaron Aquino explained that President Rodrigo Duterte's statement of seven to eight million total drug users in Philippines had no basis.
Aquino said after the reassessment done by the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) in 2016, the final figure was four million.
"We checked with the PNP (Philippine National Police) and other law enforcement agencies if there is such figure. It turned out that the seven to eight million (drug users) had no basis, so we don't understand why there was a statement on it," he said.
Aquino said in 2016 prior to the reassessment by the Dangerous Drugs Board, the reported number of illegal drugs users was 1.8 million.
But he said the figure was too small given that there was a total of 1.3 million surrendered during the same period.
He added that the Dangerous Drugs Board is expected to release a new count of drug users in the country next year.
"The DDB are now conducting a survey and hopefully by the first quarter of 2020 it will be released so we can determine how many are the drug addicts or drug pushers. (The survey) will be finished by February or March 2020," Aquino said. Cristina Eloisa Baclig/DMS