Since Rodrigo Duterte became President of the Philippines two months ago, he has taken extreme measures against drug users. Over 1300 people have been killed in Duterte’s efforts to fight drug use throughout the country. Now, over 160,000 users have turned themselves in due to fear of getting killed. However, people have turned themselves in hoping to receive help to overcome their addictions, but centers are overwhelmed and most people are not receiving much help beyond free weekend Zumba classes. Duterte and President Obama were scheduled to meet in conjunction with an upcoming ASEAN conference, but the meeting may not happen anymore. Duterte stated that he only had to answer to his people, not to President Obama, and he didn’t want to hear critiques of his drug policies.

The violent measures have brought criticism from the United States as well as the United Nations and other international actors. Is it the place of the international community to intervene in this situation? Are such intense measures sometimes necessary in order to create such a dramatic change? What approach should Duterte take to combating drug use, if not this? He believes it is good because it’s causing many people to turn themselves in. However, Duterte must focus not just on getting rid of drugs on the streets, but on providing resources to treatment centers so that people can adequately get the help that they need to overcome their addictions.

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