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In a joint initiative of the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) and the Department of Health (DOH), a manual to guide the establishment of community-based treatment and care services for people affected by drug use and dependence was developed and launched on September 18 at Dusit Thani Hotel, Makati City.

Sponsored by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, which also provided technical support and assistance to the development of the guidance document, the launch was attended by drug abuse prevention workers, treatment and rehabilitation practitioners, social workers and community organizers from all over the country.

The guidance will be of great help in the bid to bring treatment and rehabilitation services more accessible to the public, DDB Executive Director Usec. Jose Marlowe S. Pedregosa said during the launch.

“By bringing treatment and rehabilitation services closer to the people, we are providing them with the means to protect themselves from the harms entailed by drugs,” he said.

The development of the guidance is regarded as an important milestone in the fight against drug abuse as it brings forth the government’s commitment to provide better care and services to the people including recovering drug dependents.

“Aside from assuring them the accessibility and availability of services, we are giving them the hope that drug perpetrators will never defeat us. We are reassuring them that the battle against drugs is continuously won,” Usec. Pedregosa added.

The launch of the guidance document is the first among a series of efforts to establish community-based tertiary prevention facilities. Initially, this will be piloted in three areas in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.