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9 “drug-free” barangays still have drug users

CEBU, Philippines - At least nine of the 120 barangays that were given certification by the Cebu Provincial Anti-Drug Abuse Office (CPADAO) as “drug-free” are still having drug problem.

CPADAO Head Ivy Meca admitted that some drug surrenderers from these barangays were tested positive for illegal drugs during a random drug test. Meca said notices have been issued to these barangays by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA)-7 as head of the oversight committee. Meca, however, refused to reveal the names of the barangay.

Despite continued presence of drug problem, Meca said the barangays will not lose their drug-free community certification status because an immediate intervention was made.

“No, dili sila makuhaan og certification because there was an intervention acted upon before 30 days. Makuha-an to sila sa declaration kun wala gyud sila aksyon nga gibuhat,”Meca said.

Meca also said that the CPADAO assisted the barangays that were involved in the intervention program.

According to Meca, it was the head of the Treatment and Rehabilitation Program (TRP) of CPADAO, Pocholo De los Santos, who came up with a 30-day intensive relapse rehabilitation program that’s only intended for users who were tested positive during the random drug testing.

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“Kini nga programa intended ra ni siya para sa mga users nga nibalik og gamit,” Meca said.

She added that the relapse rehabilitation program is a more intensive program that directly addresses the need for immediate intervention.

Among its main components include counseling, other related activities involved and psycho education.

In response to this initiative, the barangay captains involved had sent a response letter to the head of oversight committee on the intervention program that they have implemented.

Meca said that after the completion of the 30-day intervention program, their office will again conduct a random drug testing for assessment.

Meanwhile, Meca revealed that the three barangays from Medellin which were endorsed for declaration as cleared from drugs did not pass the evaluation.

Barangays Dalingding Sur, Caputatan Norte, and Maharuhay allegedly failed to comply with the requirements.

As of March this year, Medellin had 1,815 surrenderees with 13 barangays that were moderately affected and 6 barangays as slightly affected.

"So sa nakita ninyo, taas kayo ang number sa moderately affected means daghan kaayo ang pushers," Meca said.

A barangay is classified as seriously affected if there is a presence of marijuana cultivation, mini laboratories and drug den. Moderately affected if there is the presence of a single pusher and user and slightly affected with the presence of user only.

“In terms of the presence of drugs, I cannot give any specifics but what is submitted in our office for Medellin so far wala sila seriously affected but they have moderate and slightly affected meaning na mga users and pushers,” Meca explained. — Apple Grace C. Danuco and Dulcelyn T. Insong (FREEMAN)

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