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Palace insists on criminalizing drug addiction

/ 05:34 AM January 09, 2019

Malacañang does not intend to change the government’s approach to drug addiction even as a group of psychologists objected to its criminalization.

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo maintained that the government’s policy on drug addiction has been effective, contrary to the claim of the Pyschological Association of the Philippines (PAP).

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“Ineffective where? Why not? We have reduced, dismantled in fact a huge chunk of the illegal drug apparatus,” he told a press briefing on Tuesday.

The Palace made the remarks following the PAP’s recommendation that the government amend Republic Act No. 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, to align it with RA 11036, or the Philippine Mental Health Law.

More humane approach

The group of psychologists also proposed that the government shift to a more “humane” approach and deal with “social issues that perpetuate addiction such as poverty and unemployment.”

The PAP added that the public’s exposure to summary executions of drug suspects would desensitize the public to violations of human rights, and that the lives of innocent people were mere collateral damage.

The Palace, however, challenged the group of psychologists to come up with an alternative instead of claiming that criminalizing drug addiction ran counter to the definition of addiction or substance use disorder in RA 11036.

“When you say you cannot solve the drug problem, what’s their alternative proposal? They are not saying anything,” Panelo said. —Julie M. Aurelio

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TAGS: criminalizing drug addiction, drug addiction, Salvador Panelo, war on drugs
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