Rehabilitation is not enough

psyche-thumbThe government is in quandary now on how to deal with the volume of drug addicts, users and pushers alike, who surrendered to the police.

While the strong resolve of government to eradicate the menace of illegal drugs is laudable, its program is not all encompassing, hence, we cannot expect that all of those who promised not to take drugs anymore will be able sustain such pledge. It is just too difficult.

A move now getting traction is for the Province of Bohol to finally construct a drug rehabilitation center somewhere in the eastern part. This is a very good start. I wrote a couple of articles in this column on how Bohol is a conducive place for a rehabilitation center.

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Now, more than the building, a rehabilitation center has to have a comprehensive program that is evidence-based. Rehabilitation programs vary in their routines and practices depending on the theoretical framework by which they are based upon.

But an equally important aspect of rehabilitation is community integration. This is more challenging because studies show that relapse in addiction is increased when there are significant triggers and opportunities in the environment and when there is no alternative activity that the rehabilitated addict can purposely align himself with.

Not all drug users need rehabilitation, only those who have become dependents. What happens now to those who do not need to be incarcerated in the center? There must be a program for them too.

This is where I’d like to endorse a proposal for a community action that would involve all major community stake holders. For me, this is an opportune time where we can support this government. I abhor the killings, but this will without doubt continue if those who strive to make good of their promise not to use drugs anymore don’t have community support, because for sure they will go back to their old ways.

Indeed, the harvest is great but the laborers are few. Government cannot, on its own, solve this drug problem. There needs to be synergy among the Church, the universities, government agencies particularly the DSWD, police, and the city government, and the barangays. Good people must do something now!

Here is my proposal, I call this Community Rehabilitation. With the leadership of the City Mayor, a BioPsychoSpiritual Program will be laid out in each Barangay. It will consist of creative and dynamic activities which will be spearheaded by the Church with its renewal movements and the Universities with its vast array of professional experts, with the coordination of the police and DSWD.

With this it becomes a shared responsibility. Very critical to the program is the sense of community and integration. Therefore, while we strive to cure the ill in society that is addiction, we are also strengthening our protective factors by sharing our resources and expertise for the good of all.

This is community rehabilitation in broad strokes. Much of the beauty will be in the details and implementation which I’d like to discuss further in the next issue. But for now, we need to be united in this. This administration is creating a ripple effect and we cannot just be bystanders waiting eagerly or fearfully on the next news of another life wasted because of drugs.

P.S. Barangay Booy, with Bogs Arabejo at the forefront, is now beginning to create and implement a similar program. Barangay Mansasa is also contemplating the same and they need help. Please email me at kitbalane@boholchild.com.

By Kit Nemenzo Balane



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