Call them ‘recovering drug dependents,’ not addicts

/ 05:52 AM October 02, 2016

Goodbye drug addict. Hello “recovering drug dependent.”

To remove the negative vibes associated with drug addiction, drug dependents undergoing treatment and rehabilitation at government centers will now be called “recovering drug dependents (RDD).”


Other drug personalities, whether drug users or pushers, who surrendered under Operation Tokhang, will be called “reforming drug personalities (RDP),” psychiatrist and addiction specialist Clara Fuderanan of the Department of Health (DOH) said on Thursday.

These terms were among the changes to be adopted at all drug treatment and rehabilitation centers (TRC) under the DOH, Fuderanan said.


“This is our way of removing the stigma of being a drug user or pusher,” Fuderanan explained on the sidelines of a DOH workshop on “Standardization and Harmonization of Policies” attended by the heads of drug rehabilitation facilities nationwide in Tagaytay City on Thursday.

According to Fuderanan, the DOH also plans to establish “community-based” rehabilitation centers where drug addicts can walk in and seek treatment without being confined at the facility. “It will be out in the open,”  Fudernanan said.

Hopefully, letting it out in the open will “destigmatize” drug addiction and lead to more understanding about the “recovering drug dependent,” she said.

Unexplained killings

Over 700,000 drug users and pushers have been apprehended since July when President Duterte launched Oplan Tokhang, an all-out war against illicit drugs.

In three months, nearly 3,000 had been killed in police operations, many of them shot dead allegedly for resisting arrest. Other unexplained killings were attributed to motorcycle-riding “vigilantes” wearing masks.

The fear of being killed by the police drove many people to “surrender” and report to rehab centers, especially DOH centers which charge a minimal P3,000 to those who can afford it, and are  free to indigents.



With a capacity of 550 residents, the DOH center in Bicutan, Taguig City, has become extremely overcrowded with 1,400 persons seeking treatment, said Alfonso Villaroman, chief health program officer at the center.

But in most instances, families prefer to hide the drug problem from the public because of the stigma, and would rather keep the “drug addict” son or daughter away from public scrutiny.

And many of those who underwent treatment and were eventually freed from addiction would also find difficulty in landing a job, the stigma of having been a drug addict once is often used as grounds for rejection.

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TAGS: Clara Fuderanan of the Department of Health, drug dependents, Drug pushers, drug users, Operation Tokhang, RDD, Recovering Drug Dependents
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