If it is a total war, then it must cover all aspects of the battle.
The war on drugs cannot be won merely by enforcement or interdiction.
Equally important is the post-operation follow-through which includes rehabilitation and related procedures.
This would require the services of professionals in the behaviorial sciences such as psychiatrists, psychologists, and related experts.
Thus, we agree with and support the call of a lawmaker for tapping of such professionals in the war on drugs.
Senator Richard J. Gordon has called on the Duterte administration, not just to spend on the construction of rehabilitation centers, but also on psychologists or psychosocial support experts for local government units and guidance counselors for public schools.
During a budget hearing of the Senate Committee on Finance, Gordon stressed that authorities should be more proactive to have a more effective and holistic approach in eradicating illegal drugs.
"I heard you say that there are 60 rehabilitation centers that are going to be built this year, 500-bed rehab centers to accommodate drug users, with those who surrendered already reaching 600,000. I wonder if it would be appropriate for us, in as much as 1% of our population, namely the young, 3.7-million, are affected by drugs. One-million comes from the education sector, youth and out-of-school youth. If we put in money, should we not put it instead or put in money also, in having psychiatrists in every six towns perhaps or somebody like trained psychosocial support experts or guidance counselors?" he said.
The senator pointed out that drug abuse would be nipped in the bud in the schools by having guidance counselors in schools who are well-trained to immediately spot such problems and the appropriate approach to take.
"Shouldn't we also put in money in having psychiatrists, guidance counselors who would be able to spot children who are targets of people who push drugs? Children who are sometimes beaten up, sometimes bullied, or those who are just insecure,” he said.
Gordon also proposed that the Parents-Teachers Associations in schools should actively join the campaign against illegal drug use.
He also pressed the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency to comply with the provision of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 which mandates the PDEA to establish forensic laboratories in each PNP office in every province and city to facilitate action on seized or confiscated drugs, thereby hastening its destruction without delay.
The PDEA reported that there are 17 crime laboratories being operated and maintained in the Philippine National Police regional offices.
"The law calls for a forensic laboratory in the PNP office in every province and city. We must implement the law or else, it would just be another dead letter law. We are not trying to battle with you here, we're trying to save a war," Gordon said.