The Dangerous Drugs Board underscores that the country’s anti-drug campaign is based on a holistic, comprehensive and balanced approach.

A statement was released by the DDB following the position of the Psychological Association of the Philippines “opposing the current approach of criminalizing drug use.”

DDB Chairman, Secretary Catalino S. Cuy emphasized that “the present campaign based on the Philippine Anti-Illegal Drugs Strategy has never been focused on criminalizing drug use.”

Guided by the Philippine Anti-Illegal Drugs Strategy or PADS institutionalized by President Rodrigo Duterte through Executive Order No. 66, Series of 2018, the government works to achieve drug –free communities through “supply reduction efforts involving aggressive law enforcement with strong adherence to the rule of law and observance of human rights, coupled with comprehensive demand reduction initiatives and supported by strong international ties.”

This strategy provides an “extensive framework for law enforcement while at the same time adopts a compassionate approach to victims of drug use by encouraging voluntary treatment and rehabilitation, under an overarching framework which emphasizes respect for human rights.”

Along with heightened law enforcement efforts, the government implements a range of programs and services designed to address the needs of every sector of the society. These programs adhere to the established International Standards on Drug Use Prevention.

The Administration has gained a momentum in both Drug Demand and Supply Reduction Pillars. As preventive education penetrates the core of schools and communities through the National Drug Education Program, recent developments were recorded on treatment and rehabilitation interventions. To clarify, the models mentioned by the Psychological Association of the Philippines which were established at the Local Government Unit levels to address the needs of users needing interventions follow DDB’s carefully studied framework on the minimum standards on the roll-out of effective and evidence based community based programs in consultation with the Department of Health and Department of Interior and Local Government. The minimum standards establish medical and support systems using internationally accepted models being carried at the ASEAN and international platforms.

Partnerships have also been established with different local government units, non-government organizations and the civil society in providing community-based treatment, rehabilitation, recovery, reformation and reintegration programs. Among others, DDB recalls that the Psychological Association of the Philippines provides trainings and capacity-building for duty bearers on the ground. Since they have been actively involved all these years in the move to address the drug problem at the community level, they must know that these efforts exist and they are effective.

The DDB further expressed its support to the implementation of the Philippine Mental Health Law. Chairman Cuy said that the agency is pleased with the passage of the law as this can help in the efforts to lobby the inclusion of drug treatment and rehabilitation to the services covered by the Philippine Health Insurance.

At present, the DDB has been successful in working on the inclusion of detoxification in the PhilHealth coverage.

Recognizing the expertise of the PAP, DDB Chairman Cuy said that the agency is keen on working with the organization in improving current programs and services. “We welcome the help and support of every organization and we believe that it is only through a whole of nation approach that we can successfully address our problem on illegal drugs,” he said.