Re­ha­bil­i­tat­ing drug ad­dicts

Sun.Star Pampanga - - OPINOIOPNINION -

PRES­I­DENT Ro­drigo Duterte has made a lot of state­ment’s the past few days but the one he made in front of new gov­ern­ment ap­pointees begs the ques­tion: Which is more im­por­tant, re­ha­bil­i­tat­ing drug ad­dicts or feed­ing the hungr y?

“Look at the irony of life,” he said. “I re­leased an­other P1 bil­lion for these f— — — drug ad­dicts be­cause of the com­mu­ni­ty­based treat­ment or re­hab there, what­ever is go­ing on there. They do not have money to buy medicine. So, just imag­ine, P1 bil­lion which could have been used for some­thing like feed­ing the hun­gry went to these fools.” The P1 bil­lion was from the Philip­pine Amuse­ment and Gam­ing Corp. (Pag­cor).

Don’t mind the in­vec­tives and con­sider the state­ment as a se­ri­ous one (the Pres­i­dent has a ten­dency to joke) and one can see through the Duterte mind­set. While he has set pri­or­ity on the cam­paign against the il­le­gal drugs trade, it is a drive that is not an­chored on the re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of drug ad­dicts. And he tends to cat­e­go­rize drug ad­dicts as dis­tinct from the “or­di­nary” poor.

It’s an in­ter­est­ing view but one that is much too sim­plis­tic if con­sid­ered in the con­text of lead­er­ship. The idea that money “bet­ter” used to feed the poor is wasted when used to fund the re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of drug ad­dicts de­nies the com­plex­ity of the prob­lem on il­le­gal drugs. And it is a mud­dled view.

Two things. One, many drug ad­dicts are poor them­selves and two, re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion is an im­por­tant part of the cam­paign against il­le­gal drugs, which in turn serve the poor who are the ones mainly vic­tim­ized by it. There is there­fore no con­tra­dic­tion in the as­pects of re­ha­bil­i­tat­ing drug ad­dicts and feed­ing the poor.

At al­most the same time when the Pres­i­dent made that state­ment, Manila Arch­bishop Luis An­to­nio Car­di­nal Ta­gle presided over a mass at­tended by for­mer drug ad­dicts re­formed by a drug re­hab farm in Mas­bate. They wore shirts that sum up the rea­son why re­ha­bil­i­tat­ing drug ad­dicts is worth­while: “Ev­ery life has hope.”

Re­ha­bil­i­tat­ing drug ad­dicts is not a use­less un­der­tak­ing. Tes­ti­monies of for­mer drug ad­dicts show that the prob­lem of drug ad­dic­tion can also be solved by giv­ing them proper med­i­cal at­ten­tion. That is why re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion has been re­sorted to in coun­tries with a prob­lem like ours.— Sunnex

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