The road to recovery of Baybay drug users

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BAYBAY CITY — For former drug users in this city, their recovery is a second chance to live a normal life.

Sis Kurt (not his real name), 19, expects to enjoy full public acceptance after finishing the community-based rehabilitation program of the city.

A self-confessed drug pusher and user, Sis Kurt is the only homosexual who signed up for the six-month day-time community drug rehabilitation program of the city that started in January this year.

Sis Kurt confessed that obsession for money prompted him to sell illegal drugs.

His problem with his family and boyfriend led to depression and triggered his involvement in illegal drugs trade.

His two-year drug addiction kept him away from family and friends, prompting him to surrender and abandon illegal drugs.

“I got easily tempted. I wanted to stop but every time a friend asked me to do it, I would go back using illegal drugs and would also sell them,” he said.

When President Rodrigo Duterte launched a crackdown against illegal drugs, he decided to surrender to the Philippine National Police.

“I’m very thankful when the President was elected and implemented the campaign against illegal drugs because I can start my plan to stop using and selling illegal drugs,” Sis Kurt shared.

His family is happy with his decision and is supportive of his quest to be a renewed person, free of his dark past.

Sis Kurt has been undergoing skills training of motorcycle servicing at the rehabilitation program. This is on top of baking and housekeeping skills he acquired earlier.

He said that after completing the rehabilitation in June, he would like to help the government by convincing other drug users and pushers to surrender and undergo rehabilitation.

Another surrenderer Aiko (not his real name) has been using illegal drugs since he was still in elementary. He’s now in his 50s and a family man. His family learned about his drug dependence only last year.

He recalled using marijuana at the age of 12. He started using shabu when he got older due to peer pressure.

“I used to shout and curse people if I am under the influence of illegal drugs,” Aiko shared.

Now that he only has two months left to finish the community-based rehabilitation program of the city, Aiko said that his only dream was to regain trust from his family.

“I’m not afraid of the President. The reason I surrendered is because we were given a second chance to renew our life and I don’t want to waste that chance,” Aiko said.

The surrenderer received a cash assistance of PHP3,500 from the city government here as capital for hog raising business. Just like Sis Kurt, he is also enrolled for the motorcycle servicing.

“I don’t know if I will get a job after this because I’m already old. But definitely I will change my life for the better,” he promised.

Baybay LGU has been implementing day-time rehabilitation since January of this year to support the campaign of the government in deterring crimes related to illegal drugs.

Surrenderers must stay for eight hours inside the center where they have to take lessons, skills training and routine activities given everyday.

Of the more than 2,000 self-confessed users in Baybay City, 96 are considered high-risk. The local government is giving them the priority to undergo the program.

The city government has allocated PHP1.5 million for its six-month operations and increases its budget to more than PHP4 million for next year.

The budget is used to provide assistance to those undergoing day-time rehabilitation. It also includes budget for rice assistance of 10 kilograms every week and skills training.

Mayor Carmen Cari said that after the surrenderers were done with the six-month community rehabilitation, the city would provide them PHP10,000 as start-up capital for livelihood activity.

“Their relationship with their family is better including their interpersonal relationship, there is such great improvement. They also learn how to take care of themselves,” Cari said.(PNA)

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