users. Among the drug users, the mean age bracket ranges from 20-29 years old (DDB, 2012).
However, the statistical figures over the last decade shoes a decreasing trend of age among drug users. In the 50s, the age of drug offenders ranged between 40-55 years. In the 80s the average age of drug users was 25. However, more recent data indicate that beginning to drug use starts at a very young age of eight to nine (Ancheta et al, 2009).
Considering the age brackets of drug users as presented on this literature, there is also several information that drug abuse is common among all age groups, but it occurs more frequently among young adults (United Nations, 1993).
Gender. In the context of drug use, among the 10 male drug users, 1 is female, which represents the prevalence of drugs among males compared with women (DDB, 2012) which is also supported by the report from UNDCP. However, abuse among women is reported to be swelling, which is attributed to their recent gains in entering the labour market (United Nations Secretariat, 1993).
Moreover, only one out of five drug user in treatment is a woman. There are huge source of evidence has shown that social and biological factors relating to initiation of substance use, continued substance use and the development of problems related to substance use vary considerably between men and women (Tuchman, 2010). There is an observed difference on the drug use among men and women. Men are three times more likely than women to use cannabis, cocaine and amphetamines, whereas women are more likely than men to misuse prescription opioids and tranquillizers (UNODC, 2014 & Grella, 2008).
Apparently, literature on gender differences published over the past three decades has shown that women are normally influenced by men to use drugs which strongly characterized by intimate partners who are drug users. However, women, in general may be less likely than men to develop drug-use disorders and dependence (Green, 2006 & Grella, 2008). Nevertheless, once drug use has been started, women tend to increase their consumption on drugs rapidly than male (Brady et al, 1999). Although, females use lower doses of drugs compared to males, but it could escalate more rapidly to addition, and females have higher risks for relapse (Becker, 2008).
On the other hand, women who are not drug abusers may be affected by problems related to drug abusing men. The problems of male partners may affect women in the form of difficulties in interpersonal relationships, instability, violence, child abuse, economic insecurity, deprivation of schooling and risk of sexually transmitted disease, including HIV infection (United Nations, 1994).
Civil Status, Occupation and Educational Level. The civil status of drug users is mostly married (DDB, 2012). Consequently, most of the drug users are unemployed, while their level of educational attainment is High School Level (DDB, 2012). Socioeconomic background is also an important correlation with people from more disadvantaged backgrounds more likely to use illicit drugs (Daniel et al, 2009).
Type of Drug Use. According to the Dangerous Drugs Board, the nature of drug use in the Philippines is poly drug use, it means that a drug user is using more than 1 kind of drug; it could be methamphetamine + marijuana + ecstasy + inhalants. The commonly abused substances in the Philippines are the following: (1) Methamphetamine Hydrochloride (Shabu), (2) Cannabis (Marijuana) and (3) Inhalants (Contact Cement). Among street children, solvents and other inhalants are preferred which also commonly abused (PDEA, 2012).
Consequently, the abuse on drugs is done mainly for pleasure. There are also cases where illegal drugs are used by individuals to cope with the demands of their work, like those working in graveyard shifts, or working for long hours and the like. The availability of illegal drugs encourages them to take illicit drugs (PDEA, 2012)
Methamphetamine and cocaine are both powerful psyihostimulants produce very significant acute and chronic effects and serious negative consequences in the users’ life (Rawson et al., 2002). “Amphetamines cause a number of effects that are sought by the abuser, for example, a sense of increased energy, self-confidence, and well-being; heightened awareness; loss of appetite; and euphoria. In addition to these effects, the drugs cause bronchodilation and an increase in heart rate and blood pressure. In previous years, amphetamine abusers have included occasional users who wanted to stay awake, obese persons who wanted to lose weight, and obsessive users. This is comparable to the effects cocaine use has on its user (Beebe & Walley, 1995, p. 449).