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Most Filipinos stay away from drugs, says report

31 March 2022

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The Filipino community, despite being the biggest non-Chinese ethnic group in Hong Kong, has one of the lowest incidences of drug abuse in the last three years, accounting for only 0.3 per cent of the total, according to figures published by the government’s Narcotics Division.

The figures, compiled by the Central Registry of Drug Abuse (CRDA) from among the reported drug abusers, reported young drug abusers and young people arrested for drug offences, also show Filipino drug abusers declined from 16 in 2019 to 15 in 2021, which was in keeping with the trend among the non-Chinese.

The Nepalese had the biggest number of drug abusers among the ethnic minorities, although its count was steadily falling from 239 in 2019 to 186 in 2021, which reflected a decline in percentage from 4.2 per cent to 3.1 per cent.


The other ethnic groups represented were South Asians (Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan), with 129 or 2.2 per cent in 2021;  Vietnamese with 93 or 1.6 per cent; Filipinos, with 15 or 0.3; British, with 12 for 0.22 per cent; and others with 49 for 0.82 per cent.

But the slack left by the ethic minorities was taken up by the ethnic Chinese, which increased from 88.8 per cent (5,052) of total abusers in 2019 to 91.9 per cent (5,505) in 2021.

Overall, the Action Committee Against Narcotics (ACAN) noted that the number of drug abusers in 2021 increased by 4 per cent (from 5,776 to 6,019) compared with that in 2020.


“This increase was mainly driven by the rising number of reported drug abusers aged under 21, which increased by 44 per cent (from 607 to 873) compared with that in 2020 and accounted for 15 per cent of the total number of reported drug abusers in 2021,” it added.

In its report, ACAN added: “The three most common types of drugs abused in 2021 were heroin, methamphetamine (commonly known as "Ice") and cocaine while the three most popular types among young drug abusers aged under 21 were cannabis, cocaine and ketamine (commonly known as "K"). The number of newly reported drug abusers in 2021 increased by 24 per cent (from 1 596 to 1 979) compared with that in 2020.”


Other findings included: 

  • More people (especially youngsters) were reported to abuse cocaine and cannabis.
  • The numbers of reported cocaine abusers and cannabis abusers in 2021 increased by 47 per cent (from 727 to 1 071) and 33 per cent (from 749 to 994) respectively, compared with those in 2020.
  • The number of reported young cocaine abusers aged under 21 increased by 85 per cent (from 209 to 387) while the number of reported young cannabis abusers went up by 48 per cent (from 326 to 483).

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  •  The number of persons arrested for drug offenses in 2021 increased by 20 per cent (from 3 849 to 4 634) compared with that in 2020. For the same period, the number of young arrestees aged under 21 increased by 32 per cent (from 514 to 678), and cannabis was the main drug involved.
Source: Narcotics Division

Dr Donald Li, ACAN Chairman, said that although the drug situation is generally under control, the community needs to be always on alert, especially with the increase of young drug abusers.

"The COVID-19 epidemic is changing rapidly and brings stress of various degrees to members of the public. However, drug abuse is never a proper way of coping with stress. By taking drugs, one will only get into deep trouble and seriously harm his or her health. Under the epidemic, it is all the more necessary to adopt a healthy lifestyle, relieve stress in a healthy manner, and resist the temptation of drugs firmly," he said.

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