WHILE confident that they can reduce, if not totally stop, drug-related crimes in Central Luzon in six months, authorities are confronted by the lack of rehabilitation facilities for users and pushers who have surrendered.
Chief Supt. Aaron Aquino, Police Regional Office (PRO) 3 director, said 24,170 drug suspects turned themselves in from July 1 to 19.
Of the number, 596 were arrested during anti-drug operations and 60 were killed.
Confiscated from them were about 701 grams of shabu and 27 grams of marijuana.
“The biggest problem is how to accommodate the current 24,170 drug surrenderers, and [the number]is increasing in the seven provinces in the region. There are some rehabilitation facilities in the regions but mostly privately owned,” Aquino said.
He noted that most of the local government units (LGUs) in the region have no program and rehabilitation facilities for those who want treatment for kicking the drug habit.
Ideally, drug treatment includes detoxification, behavioral counseling and medication, evaluation for possible depression and anxiety and prevention of relapse, among others, that need psychologists, psychiatrists and medical doctors.
Aquino said there is a need to establish a reformation center where the facilities and services are free considering that almost all the surrenderers are jobless.
He told The Manila Times that creating a Bahay Pagasa reform center as short-term solution is doable, compared to the construction of rehab centers that is long-term.
Aquino said local officials should motivate their constituents toward the spirit of “volunteerism.”
He cited the town of Limay and Balanga City in Bataan where Bahay Pagasa concept with a convenors’ group composed of the police, LGUs and private organizations, that share their respective expertise in helping patients.
“I want to see the other provinces replicating this idea. I’m directing provincial and city police directors to duplicate this,” Aquino said.
He suggested that various government agencies for the center such as the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, Department of Health and Department of Social Welfare and Development, among others, assign psychiatrists, psychologists and other experts in the field.
Meanwhile, as of July 18, the regional police had visited 10,128 houses of drug suspects. This is apart from those who turned themselves in: Aurora – 984; Bataan – 1,600; Bulacan – 8,274; Nueva Ecija – 3,020; Pampanga – 5,099; Tarlac – 1,819; and Zambales – 2,085.