FORMER Negros Occidental Third District Board Member Patrick Lacson said that as a reformed drug dependent he will face a new calling and that is to help other drug dependents who have surrendered to the authorities.
Lacson, who lost in his bid for mayor of E.B. Magalona in the last elections, said he considers a good development that President Rodrigo Duterte came up with a no non-sense campaign to help drug dependents after they take the first step of coming out and surrendering to the police.
Addiction is a disease and can be treated, he added.
Lacson joined fellow reformed former drug dependents Negros Oriental Third District Rep. Arnulfo “Arnie” Teves, his brother Tommy Teves, Eric Gallaga, and Ronnie Vasquez, in a press conference in Bacolod City on Wednesday.
They presented the overview of Outpatient Program for Drug Dependents that includes attending a 90-day rehabilitation that would cost the government only P2,500 for each drug dependent. See related story on Page 1
“Those who will understand all these are those who experienced drug dependence, but also with the assistance of the physicians, psychiatrists, among others. I am happy they have realized that former drug dependents can help in the implementation of the program,” Lacson said.
He added: “It is high time that the government deal with this problem. I have been a board member of the province and I was really quiet with my personal circumstance although it is common knowledge in Bacolod. I opted it to keep it personal because it was something we are not proud of.”
With the Duterte administration showing political will to fight illegal drugs, Lacson said he and Teves came out in the open since this is a chance for them to share what they know about the programs that will be effective for those who are suffering from substance abuse.
“At the height of your disease and you are not treated, you cannot control what you do because you are not in your right mind. I hope that President Duterte will understand that drug addiction is a disease, not a moral issue,” he added.