How much does the general public actually know about psychoactive substances and how these are used in their own communities? To check it out for themselves, NoBox went to two known universities in the Philippines and asked young university students questions about drugs and the people involved with them.
NoBox Philippines is a non-profit organization committed to harm reduction, working towards changing national drug policy to one that is based on sound evidence and reflective of educated, rational, humane approaches. In the Philippines, drug use is a largely moralized issue, considered as something not only illegal but also evil and unconscionable. This way of thinking is reflected in our country’s drug policies and how society (mal)treats people involved with drugs. Because this popular perception has become normalized at a national level, it is not uncommon to find people largely misinformed around drugs and drug use.
Fortunately, there are a growing number of individuals becoming interested and eager to learn more about psychoactive drugs when given the chance. NoBox went to universities and asked students about specific drugs, how they work, what their effects are, and other questions related to psychoactive drug use and the people who use them.
Advocating for a human approach with drug policy might not be so much of a long, arduous journey after all. Despite the varying answers on the specific drugs and effects, one answer remained common across all the students interviewed — that people using drugs represent a range of realities, thereby challenging the popular and pejorative narrative of drug stereotypes. Drug use does not define a person, and sometimes all that’s needed is a gentle nudge to remind that a person using drugs is really no different from one who doesn’t. This is a human issue, and drug involvement should never be used to justify depriving one of living a life of dignity.
After all, at the end of the day, it’s never been about the drugs, it’s always been about the people.
Article: Angel Yap, NoBox Philippines
Video: Video: NoBox Philippines – Angel Yap, Raymond San Sebastian, Ruod Christopher Ariete
Angel is an alumni of the Video Advocacy Training in Bangkok, Thailand, held by the Rights Reporter Foundation, with the support of the International Drug Policy Consortium and the Robert Carr Civil Society Networks Fund (RCNF).