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Published December 5, 2022, 12:19 PM
by Aaron Homer Dioquino
Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte said the city government is committed to continue its programs against the use of illegal drugs and other substances.
The lady mayor reiterated her administration’s commitment during the International Society of Substance Use Professionals (ISSUP) – Philippines National Conference 2022 at Novotel Manila, Araneta City in Quezon City on Monday, Dec. 5. The conference will conclude on Dec. 9.
The ISSUP, formed in 2016, is a global, not-for-profit and non-government organization that supports the development of a professional substance use prevention, treatment and recovery network. It also serves as a focal point for information, research, events and training for substance use prevention and drug demand reduction professionals.
The ISSUP National Conference 2022, themed “Build Better Best: Building Unified and Synergized Communities for the Management of Substance Use,” aims to provide a discussion on various current issues and a venue for its current members to continue their training paths.
Quezon City Vice Mayor Gian Sotto attended the event to represent and deliver the message of Mayor Belmonte.
In her message read by Sotto, Belmonte shared that Quezon City was chosen to host the second ISSUP National Conference as experts say it is among the most committed and effective cities in the country in addressing drug and substance abuse issues. The first ISSUP National Conference was also held in the city in 2017.
“Quezon City’s commitment to addressing these concerns [drug and substance abuse] remains steadfast and we are proud to consider ourselves a drug-resilient city,” the mayor said.
She said that the city will continue to engage and get involved in the efforts to further its advocacy towards a drug-free society.
The mayor also cited some of the city’s initiatives against drug and substance abuse, one of which was the creation of the QC Anti-drug Abuse Council, the city lead agency tasked in the implementation of a program designed to curb the drug abuse problem.
She said the local government holds regular webinars and drug education seminars in communities and schools.
The mayor added the city’s “Barkada Kontra Droga” program, which empowers the youth to combat substance abuse , has over 1,000 active members; while the community-based rehabilitation program have already served over 14,000 persons who used drugs (PWUDs).
She also said that 81 out of the 142 barangays in the city were declared “drug-cleared” as of October 2022.
Belmonte reported that the individuals who are currently in the city’s drug treatment and rehabilitation facility called “Tahanan” were provided with a conducive environment to support them for at least six months as they recover to return to the society.
The mayor said that through the conference, she hopes the city and the organization will be able further fortify the interagency structures that are already in place to improve the community response in drugs and substance abuse.
Present at the event were Deputy Secretary for International Affairs Ricojudge Janvier Echiverri, ISSUP Philippines Interim Chairperson Dr. Benjamin Vista, ISSUP Chief Executive Joanna Travis-Roberts, Colombo Plan Secretary General Dr. Benjamin Reyes, other guests and stakeholders.
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