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DSWD joins authorities in fight vs drug abuse in Bicol

LEGAZPI CITY—The regional office for Bicol of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is enlisting itself in the government's fight against drug abuse by assuming a family-based approach in its anti-illegal substance crusade in the region.
RD Arnel Garcia

DSWD Regional Director Arnel Garcia over the weekend said his office has organized a corps of social workers who are now being trained on the agency’s Family Drug Abuse and Prevention Program (FDAPP), a program which aims to educate families and communities on the adverse effects of drug addiction.

The family, he said, plays an essential role in the prevention of this nagging social problem, hence, the need to be helped to build on their capacities to be oriented on early signs of substance abuse and on correct preventive or corrective interventions.

The FDAPP also aims to reinforce information, education and communication activities that some government agencies, local government units (LGUs) and private organizations are initiating toward public participation in the anti-drug abuse campaign.

“We have arranged a series of the First Level Basic Trainers’ Training on FDAPP with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and other partners that will equip our social welfare officers with expertise in providing families with parenting skills toward building drug-free homes,” Garcia said.

The training is designed as a venue for these workers to become social technology experts in the implementation of the FDAPP that shall be adopted by concerned national government agencies, LGUs, non-government organizations and other concerned sectors, he said.

It is a sad fact that despite having various government agencies attending to the need of curtailing, if not totally eradicating, drug abuse, the country today, after decades of measures and efforts, remains confronted by the rampant use of prohibited drugs.

There are no available figures on the present drug abuse situation in the country or even in the Bicol Region but it is always safe for any observer to believe that it is getting worse as days go by, according to Garcia.

On the other hand, it is of common knowledge that the responsibility to stop drug use and proliferation or at least decrease the dramatically escalating numbers of addiction cases in the country primarily belongs to government agencies, given that there are many laws pertaining to the abuse and incorrect use of drugs that have been promulgated.

Law enforcement agencies such as the PDEA, Philippine National Police (PNP), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), with the goal of stopping underground groups and controlling the spread of their criminal activities when it comes to prohibited drugs, have been strengthened but these government units cannot accomplish these tasks alone, Garcia said.

tHE PDEA, which has the responsibility of monitoring, surveillance and raid of suspected drug nests, is tasked to implement the efficient and effective enforcement of the provisions on dangerous drug and other harmful substances.

It coordinates with the LGU, the PNP AND the DSWD when minors are involved and with local anti-drug abuse councils and the Department of Interior and Local Government whenever they conduct raid and buy-bust operations.

The PDEA also mobilizes local contacts or “assets” who provide raw information about illicit drug deals in the immediate community and are compensated using the budget of “Operation Private Eye”, a program that encourages private citizens to be a part of the global war against drug addiction.

The PNP, through its Narcotics Group, meanwhile implements laws and policies in regards to illegal drugs and underground rings involved in its manufacture and distribution while the NBI initiates the treatment and rehabilitation of drug dependents.

Other agencies directly involved in the anti-drug abuse campaign are the Department of Health (DOH), which monitors and supervises the operations of all government and private drug rehabilitation centers in the country, and the Dangerous Drug Board (DDB) that establishes anti-drug programs throughout the country.

The DDB, which is under the Office of the President and has the PDEA as its enforcement arm, also further develops the existing laws regarding drug abuse prevention and control and conducts seminars and training on addiction awareness and programs.

Garcia said that notwithstanding the existence of these national government agencies, an administration institution such as the LGU of a specific area needs each and every constituent in its area to win over drug addiction; needs support from its citizens to fulfill its mission; and needs every single help it could get in order to overcome this serious problem.

Hence, he said, the DSWD-Bicol is focusing on families and communities in helping both the LGUs and national government against drug abuse through its FDAPP.

The program also involves the promotion of family life enrichment activities to enhance cohesive, bonding and harmonious relationship among family members.

“Family intervention is crucial in making a member involved realize there is a problem that needs to be addressed. Involvement of other family members will be a great convincing opportunity for an individual to give up the vice,” Garcia stressed.(PNA)

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