Senator Win Gatchalian has filed a bill that aims to integrate a drug abuse prevention program in Grades 7 to 12 subjects under the K to 12 Basic Education System.
Under Senate Bill No. 2236 or the Drug Abuse Prevention Program in Basic Education Act, which Gatchalian filed with Senate President Vicente Sotto III, all public and private basic education institutions will integrate a drug abuse prevention program in the subjects Health for Grades 7 to 10, Physical Education and Health for Grade 11, and Personal Development for Grade 12.
The proposed program seeks to discuss the following subjects: adverse effects of abuse and misuse of dangerous drugs; preventive measures; health, socio-cultural, psychological, legal and economic dimensions of the drug problem; available services for treatment and rehabilitation; and misconceptions on the use of dangerous drugs.
“Dahil sa mga pinsalang dinulot ng pandemya tulad ng kawalan ng trabaho, mas marami sa ating mga kababayan at mga kabataan ang nanganganib na masangkot sa iligal na droga. Kaya nais natin bigyan ang ating mga kabataan ng sapat na edukasyon upang hindi masira ang kanilang mga buhay,” said the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) World Drug Report released in 2020 pointed out that because of rising unemployment and reduced opportunities caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, vulnerable and marginalized groups, including youth and women, are more prone to drug use, trafficking, and cultivation to earn money. Poverty and limited education also remain as factors in increased risk of drug use disorders, the report said.
Citing data from the Dangerous Drugs Board, the lawmakers noted that for the years 2017 and 2018, 27.32 percent and 28.14 percent of the population, respectively, who abused illegal drugs reached high school level.
The proposed measure also mandates the Department of Education (DepEd) to collaborate with the Department of Health (DOH), the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) and relevant non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to strengthen the implementation of the drug abuse prevention program. These same agencies will also be mandated to work together in establishing and providing capacity building and training courses for teachers on drug abuse prevention.