Few drug surrenderers avail of brgy-based treatment-CPADAO
Despite the rising number of drug surrenderers in Cebu, the Cebu Provincial Anti-Drug Abuse Office (CPADAO) laments a significantly low turnout of surrenderers who actually commit to a community-based treatment program.
CPADAO head Ivy Durano-Meca cites the case of Bogo City, for instance.
Meca said Bogo, one of the local government units (LGUs) that already has a community-based treatment program for their drug surrenderers, only has less than 200 individuals actually participating in the program out of its total 1,431 surrenderers.
Apparently, the trend is not only for Bogo but is reflective of the general situation of drug surrenderers across the province, CPADAO figures showed.
No Sanction for Treatment Quitters
Meca said that the low treatment turnout, could be due to the lack of any sanction against drug surrenderers who ditch the treatment program.
According to Meca, the undertaking signed by surrenderers merely states that they will voluntarily participate in the barangay treatment program; but it does not provide any sanction when the drug surrenderer discontinues with the treatment.
The community-based treatment program framework of the province of Cebu starts with the PNP profiling and assessing the drug surrenderers and coming up with a profiled list.
It will then come down to the physical and medical exam of the drug surrenderer and psychiatric diagnosis before it proceeds to the four basic programs of alternative activities, skills training, education, and counseling.
Once the six-month treatment program is completed, drug surrenderers will be assessed and then made to undergo aftercare and finally, reintegration into society.
According to Meca, the aftercare program is a long process that will roughly take one to two years of monitoring the drug surrenderers after completing treatment.
As for reintegration into society, Meca said that the provincial government planned to conduct a province-wide job fair for all the surrenderers.
Drug Programs from Different Agencies
In addition to the treatment programs initiated by the barangays, Meca said that other agencies and institutions have expressed interest in helping drug surrenderers with their own community-based treatment programs.
Due to the number of interested establishments willing to help them out with the drug surrenderers, Meca said that their office is now streamlining the programs from the different agencies so that it would fall under the four basic treatment programs of the CPADAO’s framework – alternative activities, skills training, education, or counseling.
“We have to make sure that in the province, they fall within the basic treatment programs so that the LGUs would not be confused as to which one to follow,” Meca said in Cebuano.
“That has been a source of confusion in the grassroots level as with the existence of numerous programs, the LGUs are now in a quandary as to which one they should adopt. Our role is to align all the programs of the different agencies, to interface all the initiatives done by the different sectors using our framework,” she added.
CPADAO recorded a total of 42,158 surrenderers as of December 8, of which 39,592 were users and 2,566 were pushers. Based on CPADAO’s latest data, the LGUs which recorded the highest number of drug surrenderers were San Franciso, Camotes (1,930), Toledo City (1,696), and Medellin (1,649).
Meca explained that their office does not have a monitoring system for the drug surrenderers other than keeping track of how the community-based treatments are going and its progress.
Meanwhile, reports reaching CPADAO claimed that at least eight barangay officials in the province were involved in illegal drugs either as users, pushers or protectors.
Several police officers were also tagged in the illegal drug activities, said Meca, adding that the reports were forwarded by CPADAO to the Philippine National Police (PNP) for validation and further action.
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