Drug addicts, alcoholics are not hopeless – solon

STRESSING that a healthy human resource is the nation’s most important capital for growth, a lady lawmaker said rehabilitation of an estimated 1.6 million drug addicts is never a waste of time and money.

“The 1.6 figure does not include the estimated 1.8 occasional drug users. Let us never treat drug addicts or even alcoholics as hopeless or useless citizens,” said Rep. Nancy Catamco, author of House Bill 6618.

The bill seeks to establish a Drug Abuse and Alcoholism Rehabilitation and Treatment Center in every region of the country and appropriating funds therefor.

The measure mandates that the rehabilitation centers be established through the Department of Health (DOH) jointly with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

“Alcohol and drug abuse affects all sectors of our society, rich and poor regardless of ethnicity. Not only does it affect the abuser, but everyone around him/her, from the family, the community, and ultimately the country as a whole,” Catamco said.

Catamco said alcohol and drug abuse are obviously a heavier burden among the poor owing to the sheer lack of access to rehabilitation and treatment centers.

“While there are slowly emerging various privately owned and operated alcohol and drug abuse rehabilitation and treatment centers, they are scarce and are extremely costly,” Catamco said.

Catamco said private rehabilitation centers, while well meaning and admittedly seek to serve humanitarian purposes, tend to be unreachable to the poor owing to their prohibitively expensive fees.

“This bill seeks to protect public health, safety and general welfare by mandating the establishment of said centers that will cater to the needs of victims of alcohol and drug abuse especially the indigent ones,” Catamco said.

“Helping alcohol and drug victims regain self-respect and dignity, and be reintegrated into being a useful part of society is worth more than the investments government will use to establish and maintain the said centers,” Catamco said.

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