A NEOPHYTE solon has confessed that he was once a user of prohibited drugs like shabu.
In a privilege speech, Negros Oriental Rep. Arnulfo Teves Jr., lauded President Rodrigo Duterte for his effort to dismantle drug syndicates in the country which could turn the Philippines into a narco state.
According to Teves, 16 years ago he was a drug addict and underwent rehabilitation.
“I would like to take this opportunity to admit… As a recovering addict, I was a very long time a drug addict. But I have been clean for the last 16 plus years,” Teves said.
Teves then urged the government to offer cheaper rehabilitation to drug users and even pushers who want to redeem themselves.
The solon appealed to local governments to allow their public schools to be used as rehabilitation centers to reform drug users.
In his proposal, public classrooms may be used after classes, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., to treat the surrendered addicts and pushers.
Since President Duterte launched a bold campaign against drugs, thousands of users have already turned themselves in to the authorities.
Teves noted that each classroom can hold around 50 persons, who will undergo various treatment modalities, such as lectures, counseling and physical activities.
This way, Teves said, there is no need to build rehabilitation centers and local government units can save money.
“With this, treatment of drug dependents can cost only P2,500 per person, compared to the average cost of drug rehabilitation, which could run up to P90,000,” Teves said.
“There is a way to rehabilitate at a very low cost. It’s very, very cheap,” he added.
The lawmaker said the program is “very doable,” but would need the cooperation of the drug addicts.
“There should be at least one percent willingness on the part of the addict, to us that is enough. But as I see it, the surrenderees now have about 50 percent willingness,” he said.
Meanwhile, Teves advised the drug dependents not to be ashamed of acknowledging they need help.
He also said surrender does not mean physical surrender but acceptance of the problem and opportunity to change.