BAGUIO CITY – A group of persons with substance use disorder (PSUDs) who recently completed the five-step self-help rehabilitation organized themselves into an association to avail of a livelihood program from the government.
Newly elected officials of the Pines Renewal Organization took their oath of office before Mayor Mauricio Domogan last Wednesday as a full-fledged association prior to their availing of the National Greening Program of the Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources.
The mayor expressed elation over the development and hailed the group composed of 15 PSUD graduates for deciding to turn away from their old vice and change their lives for the better.
“It only proves that people can change if we really put our minds and hearts to it,” the mayor said as he encouraged the PSUD graduates to set a good example to convince others in similar situation that they can rehabilitate and renew themselves and that there still is life after drug addiction.
Following their completion of the self-help rehabilitation, the group joined a forum conducted by the Dept. of Social Welfare and Development Cordillera (DSWD-CAR) where they were briefed on the various livelihood opportunities in store for reforming PSUDs.
“As a result of the forum.., these individuals who were interested in the program of DENR grouped themselves and coordinated with the area social worker for the election of officials… so they could avail of the National Greening Program. Hence on Jan. 21, they met and had a short orientation about the project and had their election of officers,” social welfare officer III Florecita Tul-an noted in her report to city social welfare and development officer Betty Fangasan.
The NGP will provide the grantees a means of livelihood through the propagation and planting of tree seedlings.
Tul-an said the members decided that their group will be for drug surrenderers who want to change their lives for good.
They want their association to serve as a support group to guide each of the members to a completely drug-free life.
They also intend their group as a venue for sustained income for the members and to later upgrade it into a cooperative.
As to their policies, the group decided that members who will be found using illegal drugs or have not stopped using drugs as well as those who will fail to follow the rules of the organization will be removed from the organization.
The program is part of the government’s efforts to help in the rehabilitation and eventual reintegration of these PSUDs in the community.
The members were among the 200 PSUDs who finished the Baguio Emergency Response to Addiction (BERA), a five modular session rehabilitation program conducted by the Serenity group working with the city government.
Tul-an said other graduates were also able to avail of the Self Employment Assistance program of the OCSWDO.
Apart from the BERA, other PSUDs are also currently undertaking the 36-module faith-based rehabilitation program of the 35 Family Life Resources Centers based in churches.
As per the approved process flow of the city government, drug offenders and dependents referred by both public and private entities as a result of drug tests conducted will undergo documentation processing which includes executing an undertaking pledge or affidavit, profiling, executing a waiver to undergo drug test, mugshot, debriefing and finger printing.
Adults will be subjected to brief intervention by the Dept. of Health or trained BADAC members while minors will be referred to the office of the city social welfare and development office for profiling and psychological examination.
Both will then undergo drug dependency examination by the DOH accredited physicians (Drs. Zoraida Clavio, Clarette Dy and Karen Balanza) and drug testing by DOH accredited drug testing laboratories.
The next step will be the filing in court of petition for voluntary confinement by the Dangerous Drugs Board representatives and upon issuance of a court order, the patients will either be confined in a drug rehabilitation facility in Dagupan City or Pampanga for six months or committed as out-patient at the Baguio General Hospital.
After the rehabilitation, in-patients will undergo and 18-month after-care program and along with the out-patients may be referred for livelihood assistance from the Technical Education Skills Development Agency (TESDA), Dept. of Labor and Employment (DOLE), OCSWADO, Dept. of Trade and Industry and others for their eventual reintegration in the community. /Aileen P. Refuerzo#