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A millennial’s solution to the drug problem

ANGEL THOUGHTS

“When the debate is over, slander becomes the tool of the loser.”

Rep. Christopher de Venecia and Olympian Hidilyn Diaz

Rep. Christopher de Venecia and Olympian Hidilyn Diaz

The drug problem is mainly affecting the Millennials because according to the Dangerous Drugs Board, the mean age of drug dependents in this country is 20 to 29 years old. Thus, last week, a Millennial legislator Rep. Christopher de Venecia (4th District, Pangasinan) took a stand at the Plenary of the House of Representatives to offer his formula to wipe out the drug crisis in this country.

Rep. De Venecia said that because the drive against drugs by the Philippine National Police (PNP) is focused only on the “eradication of the family tree of the drug supply ecosystem,” there should also be a parallel national effort to prevent the demand for illegal drugs, to institute an affordable rehabilitation program for drug addicts, and to establish a comprehensive reintegration program for the reformed drug abusers, through multi-sectoral efforts—from the barangay, the health sector, the Church, the academe, the civil society, and even the mass media.

His 30-minute remarks drew a unified, positive response from his fellows, making his first privilege speech the only subject in the three-hour, August 17 plenary session of the House. Deputy Speaker Pia Cayetano thanked him “for actually offering solutions, which is very endearing to hear.” Rep. Lito Atienza (BUHAY Party-list) also supported his call to concentrate on anti-drug prevention measures. “Ang tunay na solusyon, hindi lang patayan nang patayan. (The real solution doesn’t just rely on killings.) We need prevention drive,” he said.

On the rehabilitation aspect of drug abusers, Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy (Bagong Henerasyon Party-list) even suggested the creation of livelihood opportunities outside or within the rehab centers to ensure that after the rehab program, the reformed drug users/pushers will have livelihood opportunities, while Rep. Ria Vergara (3rd District, Nueva Ecija) was pleased that De Venecia addressed the need for media and the arts to help in conveying to the public that there should be no stigma associated with drug addiction.  “This is a health issue,” she stressed.  The others who joined the interpellation were:  Rep. Lianda Bolilia (4th District, Batangas), Rep. Edward Maceda (4th District,Manila), Rep. Geraldine Roman (1st District, Bataan), Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr (1st District, Camarines Sur) and Rep. Ruffy Biazon (Muntinlupa City).

To support his proposal, the young De Venecia has authored two bills: An Act Providing For The Prevention Of Drug Use Among High Risk Individuals And For The Rehabilitation Of Drug Users; and An Act Providing For The Social Reintegration And Monitoring Of Rehabilitated Individuals.