The social media news cycle can make it difficult to find truth from the right sources, especially when it concerns our country's polarizing war on drugs. Thoughts and takes are thrown at such an erratic pace that it can be difficult to sift through the noise and the outright lies.
That's why it's always best to turn to the numbers. What does the data tell us? What does the evidence suggest? Such are the questions that The Drug Archive aims to address, using hard facts and crunched numbers obtained from rigorous research.
More specifically, it's a website—launched earlier today, now accessible here—and the project of a research consortium led by the Ateneo School of Government at Ateneo de Manila University, De La Salle Philippines, the University of the Philippines-Diliman and the Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. Veteran journalists Sheila Coronel, Lorna Kalaw-Tirol, Benjamin Pimentel, and professor Clarissa David head the site's editorial board.
It's also billed as "a response to the growing call for objective and evidence-based analyses on the implementation of the government’s anti-drug campaign." We imagine—perhaps too optimistically—that it can be something of a fact-based weapons cache to use against trolls.
Currently, the Drug Archive contains a list of drug war-related court cases, salient government issuances and documents, and an official kill count. The Archive also contains some very useful infographics, a drug war timeline, and detailed methodologies.
And while the Drug Archive's current content is already quite comprehensive and interesting to explore, the consortium hopes to add further research projects to the site. They'd like to team up with scholars and journalists in "conducting data analysis, field research, and discussions on public policy related to the campaign against illegal drugs." Contributions from the public are welcome.
Hopefully, the Drug Archive can be a step towards building a reliable public resource of truth—which is something we desperately need in these times.