The Japanese government has dispatched a 15-member research team to the Philippines to find ways how they can help the South East Asian country’s war on drugs.

The latest counts pegs over 900,000 drug users have surrendered to police forces since the start of the drug war in July. Of the numbers, over 870,000 are drug users while 90,000 are pushers, according to Rappler Philippines.

Drug users with minimal dependence will undergo drug rehabilitation in regular centers, and more serious cases – such as those who use drugs daily – will be sent to a more specialized center such as that in Bataan.

The mega-drug rehabilitation center in Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija can only accommodate 10,000 drug dependents. Treatment duration for each patient will take between 3 to 6 months, Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial said. New patients will only be admitted when there is an availability.  

The government is planning to build an additional three mega-drug rehabilitation centers to accommodate more drug dependents.

According to the Dangerous Drug Board, there are 1.7 million drug users in the country.

Such is the need that prompted a drug-rehabilitation cooperation between Japan and Philippines.

During the Tokyo Summit back in October, Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte reached an agreement for Japan’s possible assistance in the rehabilitation of drug dependents.

Earlier in December, the Japanese government formally sent a 15-man team composed of officials from its Foreign Ministry, National Police Agency, Health Ministry, Japanese Embassy, and the Japan International Cooperation Agency to Manila, Philippines for a 5-day research mission.

After a welcome ceremony held in the country’s embassy in Manila, the team conducted a visit to a facility in Taguig City which caters to 1,200 dependents suffering from addiction to methamphetamine hydrochloride.

“We are confident that Japan is able to provide the highest, skillful assistance to the Philippines in its fight against drugs,” said special advisor to Shinzo Abe, Katsuyuki Kawai, during the ceremony.

The Japanese team also held meetings in the hometown of President Duterte, Davao, where he was Mayor for 20 years and held a local drug war summit.

Mr Kawai noted Japan faced similar drug problems and it would be fruitful to bring its countermeasure to the Philippines. He also noted that their cognitive therapy – which is being implemented 100 percent – has brought them successful results.

“Japan has achieved the world’s biggest success in drug abuse prevention and educational activities,” Mr Kawai said.

One official from the Taguig facility, Bien Leabres, noted that Japan could help in infrastructures, supplies, vehicles, and training of the attending staff. MIMS

Read more:

PH businesses help government in drug rehab centre construction
PH: DOH sends medical teams to assist in screening drug addicts
PH: PDEA supports affordable treatment for drug dependents