Bishop calls for DOH’s active involvement in drug rehab

Bishop calls for DOH’s active involvement in drug rehab

By CBCP News

October 7, 2019

Manila, Philippines

A Catholic bishop has challenged the Department of Health to take a more active role in confronting substance use disorders in the country.

Saying that drug addiction is a “mental illness,” Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Kalookan said that the DOH should be more involved in drug rehabilitation efforts.

“I’ve been challenging the DOH to be more involved in drug rehabilitation because drug addiction is a mental health issue,” he said over Church-run Radio Veritas.

The bishop lamented the lack of acceptance for equal treatment of people with mental health and addiction concerns.

“It’s a mental illness that’s why it’s substance use disorder. But sometimes our thinking towards drug users are negative,” he said.

The prelate is one of the vocal critics of the government’s bloody crackdown on illegal drugs that claimed thousands of lives, mostly urban poor.

David repeatedly said that intimidation and killings will not stop the problem, as he called for a more health-based approach to the war on drugs.

Concerned over the growing suicide cases, he also stressed the necessity for the government to give more attention to mental health problems in the country.

“We need to increase awareness in the communities towards another health issue, which is mental health,” David said.

“We actually call them victims of depression. We don’t say they killed themselves. We say depression killed them because they did not know how to cope with this depression,” he added.

According to the DOH, some 3.3 million Filipinos suffer from depressive disorders.