THE revitalized City Anti-Drug Abuse Council (Cadac) had sponsored again a five-day capability training on development of community-based recovery support systems.

The event was held at the New Day Recovery Center (NDRC) with speakers NDRC Program Director Jerry Joseph Valderrama and Dr. Miriam Cue, both accredited by the Colombo Plan International Center for Certification of Education of Addiction professionals.

The goal of the training is to reduce the significant health, social and economic problems associated with substance use disorders. Since the training is an essential tool to help the individuals and families live in the community as drug-free recovering people, it will be helpful in the Cadac Community-based Rehabilitation and After Care Program.

Cadac Action Officer Michael Aportadera was present on the first day to welcome the participants. John Bryan Bajado, Ronaldo Rivera, Kenneth Tee and Nelia Dagundon of the Cadac office also attended the training.

Other participants were RCDD Central Manager Dr. Gene Gulanes, Davao City Therapeutic Community Support Group and Sr. Mariss Arado of Archdiocese of Davao President Joy Mamaril.

Other participants were composed of representatives from higher educational institutions like Joy Delgra, Maria Theresa Dela Rosa, Connie Domag, Sitti Alapadan and Elvira Grace Ponce De Leon. Some were from the Philippine National Police, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and Department of Interior and Local Government.

There were 15 modules in the training that include the science of addiction and recovery, strength-based approaches, healing stigma, shame and discrimination and roles of the community in recovery. Its activities include small and large group discussions, reflective writing exercises, daily reviews to help the participants remember the information discussed and learning assessment exercises. It was truly comprehensive.

The training ended last January 3, 2017 and imparted important lessons to all.

It was also discussed during the event that drug addiction is truly an illness and that there are physical processes going on with reformists’ brain that is beyond any people’s control. Reformists also have many struggles and losses and their families and communities are also suffering.

In spite of the bumpy road to recovery, reformists can still recover and live full lives and contribute to family and community life if only people will accept them and believe on their strengths.

How I wish we can all see how a reformist feels deep inside and remember that they don’t wake up in the morning and chose to become drug addicts. Of course, anyone cannot simply have the exact idea of how it is to be like them unless they become one. So I beg for everybody to end the stigma and discrimination and allow them to feel that there is room for change.

But one should recognize that everything has to undergo a process. It cannot just happen in a snap and it cannot be perfected easily. Some may have the desire to push for change but they do not know where to start. Let us all help them identify their strengths and unconditionally support them in their journey to recovery.

I am not convincing you to change your minds on how you should perceive drug addiction , but remember that those who cannot change their minds are those who are not ready for change. We say that change is coming but when is it really coming?

Are you willing to change?