Members of the House Committee on Dangerous Drugs have been urged to fast-track passage of 11 bills seeking to establish provincial and regional drug rehabilitation centers in the country.
In a recent briefing, officials of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), the Philippine National Police-Anti-Illegal Drugs Group (PNP-AIDG), and the National Bureau of Investigation told the committee that they had convinced almost 700,000 drug users and drug pushers nationwide to undergo rehabilitation.
“But the problem is that they were let loose because the PNP, or any other law enforcement agency like the PDEA, has no drug rehabilitation facility that can accommodate that huge number of people involved or addicted to drugs, particularly shabu,” Surigao del Norte Rep. Ace Barbers said over the weekend.
“If we would dilly-dally in the effort to create more drug rehab facilities, what would happen to the more than 680,000 drug pushers and users who surrendered to the police who are now at home or on the loose? While we can presume that some of them, say 10 percent, won’t get back to their old ways, what about the remaining 90 percent?” Barbers asked.
“Most likely, they would just take a short break until the heat on them is off and later return to their old habits, smoking, sniffing, ingesting or, worse, again selling illegal drugs,” he said.
House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said while some government and private rehabilitation facilities that offer rehabilitation services exist, most may be expensive.
“Families in the provinces cannot meet the cost of placing their drug dependent relatives in private rehab centers. Our bill seeks to broaden the coverage of drug treatment and recovery programs for drug dependents by establishing a drug rehab center in every region,” Alvarez added.
According to Alvarez, rehabilitation services are not just about treating the physical and mental state of the drug dependents.
“It also requires emotional preparation, psychological introspection, gradual social reintegration and a post-monitoring mechanism that will ensure permanent self-rediscovery and continued productivity,” he said.