Addiction is defined as “a physical or psychological need for a habit-forming substance, such as a drug or alcohol”. In the Philippines, the addiction to illegal substances has reached a point where it can be considered as an epidemic. Last 2016, President Rodrigo Duterte emphasized the need to address this issue and has supported the Philippine National Police in their fight against illegal drugs. However, unlike the President’s belief that addiction should be eliminated by force, it should be addressed as a health concern.
Based on the news article from Philippine Star, the Philippines has an estimated 1.8 million drug users. This figure was from the Dangerous Drugs Board’s 2015 Nationwide Survey on the Nature and Extent of Drug Abuse in the Philippines (http://www.philstar.com/news-feature/2017/02/07/1669938/4m-drug-users-realm-possibility-ddb-insists ). These drug users are targeted by the government for rehabilitation and treatment.
Currently, the Philippines has twelve (12) Rehabilitation and Treatment Centers under the Department of Health (DOH). One of these twelve centers is located here in the province of Bataan. The DOH Treatment and Rehabilitation Center Bataan has an in-patient treatment program that applies the Therapeutic Community approach to help the over-all recovery of the patients. Addiction addressed in the center is not limited to the use of illegal drugs, it also encompasses the addiction to other substances, like alcohol and cigarettes.
In Bataan, different municipalities have welcomed a modified approach of the Therapeutic Community in the Reformation Centers under the Philippine National Police. However, unlike the in-patient treatment program of the center that lasts for at least 8 (eight) months, the program in the Reformation Center lasts for only a month. This is due to the difference between the individuals; those under the former are confirmed addicts while those under the latter are admitted due to the occasional use of the substance.
In applying the Therapeutic Community approach in the treatment of addiction, community awareness is also considered. The individual’s recovery does not end after their rehabilitation. It is an on-going process and the public must be aware of their role to help a recovering addict once the person is back to the society.