The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) supports a bill authored by Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago that seeks to eliminate the incidence and prevalence of alcohol, tobacco and drug abuse among Filipino students by establishing comprehensive prevention programs in schools nationwide.
PDEA Director General Undersecretary Jose S. Gutierrez, Jr. said the agency supports Senate Bill 3085, or the “Stay Clean and Sober Act”, to help address the incidence of alcohol, tobacco and drug abuse among students.
The proposed bill tasks the Department of Education (DepEd), in coordination with the Commission of Higher Education (CHED), the Department of Health (DOH) and the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) to establish a comprehensive program that includes prevention, intervention, referral for evaluation, treatment and aftercare for students in all secondary schools, colleges and universities.
Gutierrez said the said senate bill complements Section 43, Article IV of Republic Act 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, which provides for the integration of “instruction on drug abuse prevention and control in elementary, secondary and tertiary curricula of all public and private schools” nationwide.
“This highlights the significant role of the schools in promoting anti-drug education to keep students from abusing drugs and other substances like alcohol and tobacco,” Gutierrez said.
The PDEA chief mentioned the recent initiative of PDEA in collaboration with the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) and Rotary Club of North Balintawak District 3780, in tapping public school teachers in Quezon City as partners and trainers on drug abuse prevention.
“We facilitated a three-day training for 53 elementary and high school teachers to equip them with effective management skills in preventive drug education. The said training highlighted the role of educators, as mentors of the youth, in creating a drug-free country,” Gutierrez said, explaining that the activity for the selected Quezon City public school teachers is a pilot project that is expected to be replicated in other schools all over the country.
“I am encouraging other civic groups, like the Rotary Clubs, to partner with PDEA and adopt a school where we could tap teachers as our force multipliers in implementing sustained drug abuse prevention programs to protect our youth from the clutches of illegal drugs,” Gutierrez said. Ms. Evangeline DJ Almenario, Chief, Public Information Office, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency