MANILA- Most of the people who use "shabu" (methamphetamine) treat it as fuel for hard labor, results of a study released on Wednesday.
The main consumers of the drug are laborers who treat it as some form of energizer, said Gideon Lasco, a research consultant for NoBox Philippines who wrote "Living in the Time of Tokhang."
"Shabu" is also used for criminal activity, according to the study, which was based on interviews and small group discussions in a community near Metro Manila.
The study focused on men aged 18 years old to 25 years old who have been involved in illegal drugs or are still involved.
The government "must not focus on mere law enforcement but also take into account social and economic determinants of human behavior," the study said.
Addressing the drug problem must be "holistic," combining public health and law enforcement approaches, Lasco said.
Former Dangerous Drugs Board chairman Benjamin Reyes said Lasco's study gave a human face to the drug problem and recommended the conduct of more studies to improve government policies.
From July 1, 2016 to January 17, 2018, a total of 3,987 drug suspects have been killed in anti-drug operations, police data showed.