The seriousness of the Duterte Administration in winning the war against illegal drugs in the country is undeniable.
The thousands of illegal drug users and pushers who are “surrendering” to local authorities are more than enough proof that Filipinos know that the current Administration’s war against illegal drugs is real and that there seems to be no way to win against it.
Will those who “surrendered” succeed in freeing themselves from the bondage of illegal drugs?
It appears that local governments are not ready to handle the thousands who voluntarily surrendered and admitted that they are illegal drug users and pushers. The common actions of local governments include recording the details of those who surrendered, telling them that they will be monitored or put under surveillance, and requiring them to do community service.
It is common knowledge that addiction cannot be cured simply by the “willingness” of the addict to do away with it.
While admission of the drug addiction and willingness to free oneself from it are essential initial steps, in many cases, particularly when one has been an addict for a long time, medical, psychological and psychiatric interventions are needed. These interventions are normally included in the rehabilitation program for drug addicts.
Do local government units have available rehabilitation interventions for those who surrendered? Are there mechanisms in place to assess the extent of their addiction and accordingly determine the treatment that they need?
What exactly is the extent of the monitoring or surveillance that local governments are doing? How will they treat those who initially surrendered and are still taking illegal drugs?
Both the local and national governments should treat the act of surrendering as a “cry for help” from these illegal drug users and pushers. As the prime duty of government, according to our Constitution, is to serve and protect the people, it should do everything necessary to help these illegal drug users and pushers.
We hope that both the national and local governments will soon come up with more substantial service and protection for these drug addicts that merely monitoring them and requiring them to do community service. They should be served and protected by providing them with the needed drug rehabilitation treatments.
Winning the war against illegal drugs is not measured by the number of those who will surrender and admit that they are illegal drug users or pushers. It is measured by the number of lives saved from fatal effects of drug addiction.
(Dr. Ramon Ricardo A. Roque, CESOI, Diplomate)