Drug dependents who would voluntarily submit themselves to treatment and rehabilitation can now seek the help of lawyers from the Pubic Attorney’s Office (PAO) to act as their counsel and represent them before courts.

This is after the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement between the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) and PAO on August 22.

As per the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 9165 or RA 9165, a drug dependent or through a parent, spouse or guardian will have to apply to the DDB or its duly recognized representative for treatment and rehabilitation.

Upon application, the petition will be filed in court and based on results of drug dependency examination by an accredited physician, the court will order the confinement of the dependent in a treatment and rehabilitation facility.

With the agreement with PAO, drug dependents now can seek the help of PAO lawyers nationwide. Atty. Persida V. Rueda-Acosta, during the MOA signing, also stressed that this service is free of charge.

DDB Chairman Sec. Felipe L. Rojas Jr., regards this as a very important development especially with the influx of surrendering drug users seeking treatment and rehabilitation. “We are very grateful to PAO for granting our request and for supporting our advocacy to save drug dependents from the clutches of drugs and re-integrate them into the society as productive citizens,” he said.

The MOA between DDB and PAO is effective immediately and covers the national and all regional offices.