Press Release
July 18, 2019

"Start them Young" - Bato Moves to Include Substance Abuse Education in K-12 Program

SENATOR RONALD 'BATO' DELA ROSA remains firm in his efforts to battle the proliferation of illegal drugs in the country, which he considers as a curse that destroys every Filipino family.

In his Senate Bill No. 228 filed recently, the neophyte senator stressed the urgent need for the inclusion of substance abuse prevention education from 4th Grade to the 12th Grade. Through this, he said, children will be equipped with sufficient knowledge and information about the dangers of substance abuse, the ability to resist pressure to use drugs and the ill effects to the society of addiction to the illegal drugs.

The senator added that based on numerous studies, early education on the prevention of substance abuse could save the would-be users from addiction and its negative effects.

"This proposed measure is a solution to the problem on drugs as evidenced by various researches which proved that introduction to drug addiction and prevention of substance abuse and its harmful effect to the young generation could drastically help combat the drug problem in many countries," Dela Rosa said.

"These studies have shown that people are more likely to develop an addiction if they start using the illegal substances at a young age," he explained. "The youth, once involved in drug abuse will likely have academic, relationship and health problems. This leads to lower grades, dropping out from schools and having damaged physical, cognitive and emotional development," he continued.

At present, the K to 12 curriculum introduces substance abuse in the 9th Grade where students are usually teenagers aged 15 years old. This introduction at this stage of formative years might be too late because they may be already involved or even have tried the illegal drugs. In an interview with CNN, Dela Rosa said "we know for a fact that in our

Oplan Tokhang, the youngest surrenderee is as young as 7 years old, yung substance abuser 7 years old, so I think we have to, ibaba natin yan from Grade 9 gusto ko magiging Grade 4. Mag start ng Grade 4, Grade 4 is around 10 years old, 10 o 11, I think dapat agahan natin, start them young."

Based on the 2017 data from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, there were 4.7 million drug users in the country while the Dangerous Drugs Board reported an estimated 4.8 million Filipinos aged 10 to 69 have used illegal drugs at least once in their lives. These government agencies also bared that 20,872 out of the 42,036 barangays in the country are considered drug-affected in the year 2017.

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