Give drug users ‘chance to reform’


Drug dependents should be given a chance to live a life free from drug addiction, according to Vice President Ma. Leonor “Leni” Robredo.

Robredo made the statement after her consultation with medical professionals, faith-based groups, non-government organizations and recovered drug dependents on how the Office of the Vice President can help and speed up implementation of drug rehabilitation programs in the country, particularly the community-based drug rehabilitation initiatives at the level of local government units (LGUs).

“What has been happening is a cause for concern. The bottomline here is that everyone should be given a chance to reform. We just cannot stand on the side and not do anything,” she said.

The Vice President was referring to the government’s anti-drug war, which has left at least 3,500 suspected drug dependents dead since President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office last June 30.

Robredo said it is worrisome that the Department of Health has identified only 10 percent of the 734,000 who surrendered as eligible for institutional drug rehabilitation, while the Dangerous Drugs Board said it is actually one percent.

“What happens to the 99 percent? We don’t need to spell it out,” she added.

Robredo’s office gathered suggestions from the various sectors in attendance at the end of the activity.

The suggestions would be consolidated by Robredo’s team to form a template for a community-based drug rehabilitation program to be piloted in 11 LGUs.

Those involved in the consultation, who refused to be named because of safety concerns, said drug dependents are not all criminals, and that many of the drug dependents don’t want to turn themselves in because they are afraid that they will be killed, making it more difficult to bring them to rehabilitation.

Robredo shared their sentiments, noting that the anti-drug war should not get in the way of implementing an effective drug rehabilitation program.

“I become a little impatient [when it comes to the drug rehabilitation policy]because we can’t just look at one-size-fits-all solution. The community-based rehabilitation is where we want to help, so we asked for your help in gathering all the best practices that will mentor the local executives on how they can go about those who surrendered, something that will include public health perspective, make the response evidence-based,” the Vice President said.

“As it is, the LGUs’ programs depend on chance. What we want to do is complement existing programs and improve them. If we keep on planning [on new programs], by the end of the year, the number of those who died could outnumber those for rehabilitation. We can’t deal with this with killings. We can do something now and adjust along the way,” Robredo added.

House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez of Quezon said those who surrendered should instead be employed by the government as collectors of the state-run Small Town Lottery or STL.

“This will give them a chance to be productive. The DSWD could also intervene in their transition to ensure that they won’t go back to their old ways,” Suarez added, referring to the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

“In this situation, they get employed, and the government will also earn revenues,” he said.


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  1. Robredo is so out of the loop .Drug rehab is part of the progra It will be done in rehab centers that are being built or community based. Nagpapalapad lang nang papel, nagmukha tanga tuloy.

  2. Clearly, VPLeni doesnt know any drug addicts. Rehabilitation takes time and not all of them will stay on the wagon. It is not treating a fever with anti-biotic. It is undoing the chemical damage to a person’s mind and perception. As much as the government and families would want the drug addict to reform, the work and effort comes from the addict himself.

    Before my words get twisted, I am not for killing drug addicts. I would like to educate people on what a drug addict is and it is from my experience.

    Drug addicts are capable of crime and their rehabilitation is long and hard- they are victims of their own choosing. It is harsh of me to say but let’s not romanticize drug addicts and call them for what they have become.

    It’s the gray-area thinking that we have put ourselves in that we enable drug addicts. They have to know it is against the law and that their rehabilitation is because they want a better life not because they are scared for their lives. Their frame of mind is so much different form a regular person’s, please take note.

    Doing anything against the law is a crime in itself. Not all are dangerous but all drug addicts are criminals by way of indulging in drugs prohibited by law.

    Try coming home and finding out that your appliances have gone missing because they needed a fix. Families do not report these larcenies because they are family. How often does money go missing or someone hit because they didn’t want to give money to fuel the want for drugs? These are crimes unreported because it is kept within the family.

    The one who said this in denial : “Those involved in the consultation, who refused to be named because of safety concerns, said drug dependents are not all criminals”.

    Better to keep things in perspective to be able to look for the best reform program to process them back into society.

  3. Easier said than done Ms VP. How many drug addicts have been treated, placed on rehab, counseled then goes back to their old habits. By taking the podium and preaching something with your prepared speeches and doing nothing to address the problem will not lead us to anything.

  4. matino na pinoy on

    Drug dependents should be given a chance to live a life free from drug addiction? At whose expense? In other countries, drug rehabilitation is an individual expense. In the Philippines, drug rehabs are housed in hospitals and attend classes, as part of the program. Boarding and lodging, medications, food, clothing, and everything else will be handled by the government? This type of governance will create animosity among the population because some very poor people will be working very hard just to get by, and they see people in drug rehab living comfortably, and all their needs are given to them and taken cared of. Can we design a better program of equality? I mean drug addicts should give some back to the society after rehab and punished severely if going back to be addicted again.

  5. But we are told STL is used as a front to illegal gambling. Therefore, these would be government employees may engage or become agents of illegal gambling, and the end result are persons involved in illegal drugs and illegal gambling!

  6. If we can just stay put as kibitzers in a drug-war that threatens to destroy rather than build lives, then, there must be something essential sorely missing inside our consciousness.

  7. Ano pa nga ba? Hindi mo ba nakikita yung mega drug rehab na pinatayo sa Nueva Ecija? Stop fanning the flame of EKJ, and portraying yourself as the champion of drug addicts. Tulungan mo ang presidente. Be a team player and forget party lines. Kilala mo naman siya! Stop carrying your own bench!