JULY 31, 2018 – The police should give low-level drug offenders the option to first seek treatment in government rehabilitation centers instead of arresting and letting them rot in prison.
Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers said there should be a mechanism to put those who have committed low-level drug offenses, such as possession, in treatment programs to reform themselves and decongest jails.
Those involved in serious drug offenses should be disqualified from the program and should face the full force of the law, said Barbers, chairman of the House of Representatives’ committee on dangerous drugs.
“We should punish more those who sell and distribute illegal drugs than those who use them to feed their addiction. The former should be permanently kept off the streets while the latter deserve medical intervention rather than incarceration,” Barbers said.
The police and other government institutions involved in curbing the illegal drug problem should join hands in screening those who they think would benefit more from the treatment program.
Barbers said private and civic organizations supportive of the government’s campaign to curb illegal drugs must be tapped to help in the screening process.
“The war on drugs must distinguish between the sellers and the users. This way, we can separate those who can still be saved and those who are doomed,” he added. #