November 26, 2021

US provides P5 million in livelihood assistance to recovering drug addicts.

The US government has launched a PHP5 million livelihood program to help Filipinos recover from substance abuse.

On Wednesday, representatives from the Dangerous Drugs Board, the Department of Health, and 12 local government units convened virtually for the launch.

The “Ako ang Saklay” project is a collaboration between the Office of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) of the US Embassy and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) (UNODC).

It will be implemented for two years by Ako ang Saklay Inc., a Central Luzon-based civil society organization that provides community-based drug rehabilitation, and will provide livelihood skills training, income-generating opportunities, and job placements for recovering drug users in 12 pilot areas.

The cities of Caloocan, Makati, Marikina, Pasig, Quezon City, Valenzuela, and Calamba, as well as the provinces of Palawan, Cavite, Tarlac, Ifugao, and Nueva Ecija, are all included in the program.

“Livelihood programs, such as those facilitated by Ako ang Saklay, can result in changes in the quality of life for drug users, their families, and their communities,” said INL representative Mark Everson.

“This livelihood initiative will contribute to Ako ang Saklay’s comprehensive rehabilitation program, complementing the government’s whole-of-nation approach, and will eventually provide hope for drug users and their families,” said Fr. Arnold Abelardo, founder of Ako ang Saklay Inc.

The goal of the program is to increase the local government’s capacity to train practitioners in evidence-based treatment, rehabilitation, and reintegration approaches.

The funding comes from INL’s broader drug demand reduction program in the Philippines, which aims to raise awareness, increase the use of preventive measures, and engage multisectoral stakeholders in recovery and reintegration efforts for people with substance use disorders, according to the Embassy.

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