Philippines : Avant et après Duterte, un groupe de Cebu propose une meilleure réponse à la « guerre à la drogue »



Philippines : Avant et après Duterte, un groupe de Cebu propose une meilleure réponse à la « guerre à la drogue »

29 décembre 2023
John Sitchon

Malgré un environnement hostile, IDUCARE sert la santé de sa communauté tout en plaidant en faveur d'une réforme efficace des politiques relatives aux drogues. Pour en savoir plus, en anglais, veuillez lire les informations ci-dessous.

CEBU, Philippines – The words "shoot to kill" never leaves Johann “Panki” Nadela’s mind as he works day and night to provide health services to young people with substance abuse disorders (SUD) and those that use drugs to cope with life. Nadela made it his life’s mission to fight for a “better answer” to the war on drugs. That better alternative is harm reduction—a concept that consists of providing healthcare services, social reintegration, legal assistance, and psychosocial support for all persons who use drugs (PWUDs).

Before Duterte, Nadela worked for several outreach programs focused on case-finding and service-delivery for people who inject drugs (PWID) and persons at risk of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

In 2015, the outreach worker became a community organizer and co-founded IDU Care—a community-led organization of PWUDs that actively advocates compassionate and realistic methods in solving the country’s drug problem.

IDU Care currently manages a community drop-in center in Cebu City that provides paralegal assistance, counseling, medical treatments and therapy, and resources for peer education programs on safe practices for persons living with drugs.

According to Nadela, the drug war heavily impacted operations at IDU Care’s community drop-in center, forcing them to integrate precautionary measures in their outreach activities and services. Nadela shared that at least two members of the organization were victims of extrajudicial killings during Duterte’s drug war.

One of them, the community organizer said, was “Kaloy” who was an active member of IDU Care and an activist who advocated for workers’ rights in Cebu. Kaloy was shot dead as he stepped down from a tricycle on his way home in Consolacion town in 2017. 

Nadela told Rappler that he dreams of seeing a comprehensive harm reduction policy being used by the national government to address the needs of PWUDs in the country. In recent years, IDU Care has collaborated with civil service organizations, local government units, and international organizations like the International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC) for programs aimed at harm reduction.

For Gloria Lai, IDPC Asia Regional Director, harm reduction involves health-based approaches that put value on treatment rather than actions that reinforce the stigma associated with drug use.

“When we talk about harm reduction, the focus is usually on HIV and treatment but a lot of that is impacted by the surrounding environment and that comes down to drug laws and policies,” Lai said in a phone call interview with Rappler.

The harm reduction advocate explained that changing drug policies from a punitive framework to a health-based framework can provide an enabling and rehabilitative environment for PWUDs.