July 25, 2016
MANILA, Philippines – Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte recently said out of the more than 700 drug users and pushers, who surrendered earlier to the Quezon City Police District (QCPD), less than half returned to undergo drug dependency evaluation.
Belmonte, who chairs the QC Anti-Drug Abuse Advisory Council (QCADAAC), said the evaluation was meant to determine the degree of dependency and the kind of intervention needed to cure the victims of drug abuse.
She said the evaluations of the “drug surrenderees” were conducted by accredited physicians of Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) and Department of Health (DOH) in various districts of the city from June 30 to July 5.
Out of the 708 that voluntarily surrendered, she said only 283 returned to undergo drug dependency evaluation.
Of these individuals, she noted that 185 were recommended for counselling, while 70 were recommended for rehabilitation.
Belmonte said one was recommended for psychiatric treatment and will be referred to the National Center for Mental Health, while 27 still need to undergo further evaluation.
She said the QCADAAC has already coordinated with the QCPD and the barangays to make sure that those who did not undergo drug dependency evaluations will do so soon or before another batch of surrenderees are rounded up.
Belmonte noted that drug users recommended for treatment and rehabilitation were advised for admission at the QC Drug Treatment and Rehabilitation Center (Tahanan) in Barangay Payatas.
She said the DOH has already granted their request to increase the allowable bed space inside the facility to accommodate as many drug dependents as possible.
Belmonte further noted that those recommended for counselling were asked to report regularly to an accredited DDB or DOH physician until such time they are cleared of drug use.
She added that educational programs offered by the TESDA Training Center and Alternative Learning System (ALS) will be made available to all those who surrender to ensure sustainability of a drug free lifestyle.
According to Belmonte, the 708 drug users and pushers were those ones who surrendered to the QCPD under its “Oplan Kapak” program, which was conducted from June 22 to 24.
Prior to this, more than 300 suspected drug users and pushers had already voluntarily surrendered to the QCPD.
Most of the surrenderees said they fear for their safety amid the crackdown on illegal drugs.
Belmonte admitted that the “Oplan Kapak” of the QCPD had not been coordinated with the city government before it was launched.
Thus, she said intervention programs, including rehabilitation, had not been factored into the program.
Nonetheless, she stressed that the QCADAAC took the initiative of coordinating with the QCPD in order to ensure that the drug dependents, who surrendered would be cured of their dependency and lead productive drug-free lives. – MBL