While there will always be young people who continue to experiment with sex, drugs and alcohol, today’s generation of young Filipinos seem to behave better compared to their counterpart a decade ago.
Findings from the 2013 Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality Study (YAFS 4) released today by the Demographic Research and Development Foundation, Inc. (DRDF) and the University of the Philippines Population Institute (UPPI) show that the levels of current drug use, drinking alcohol and smoking among young people aged 15-24 have dropped considerably. The declining pattern is found in the practices of both young men and women, as well as in younger and older youth.
The percentage of young people who are “current smokers” declined from 20.9 percent in 2002 to 19.7 percent in 2013. Eleven years ago, 41 percent of young Filipinos reported to be “current alcohol drinkers”. Now, 37 percent of young adults are engaged in this behavior. But the most substantial decline is found in drug use. Only 4 percent admitted to have ever used drugs in 2013, compared to almost 11 percent in 2002.
The National Capital Region has the highest level of youth smokers (27 percent) while ARMM registered the lowest. Only 12 percent of young people in ARMM are smokers.
Dr. Nimfa B. Ogena, professor of Demography at the UPPI and the main author of the paper on non-sexual risk behaviors of Filipino youth said that although there has been no analysis done yet to explain the pattern in risk behaviors displayed by the current generation of Filipino youth, the latest findings should give adults less reason to worry about the state of the youth. “Perhaps smoking, drinking and drug use have become too expensive for them, the youth has found other vices, or they are just getting more responsible”, she added.