Lessons Learned from Government-Academe-Civil Society Partnership to Improve the Assessment and Management of Drug Dependence in the Philippines

  • Carl Abelardo T. Antonio
  • Jonathan P. Guevarra
  • Lolita L. Cavinta
  • Nina G. Gloriani
  • Jasmin T. Peralta
  • Ma. Lourdes Reyes-Sare
  • Francis Emmanuel A. Galera
  • Salvador Benjamin D. Vista
  • Manuel C. Panopio
Keywords: drug use, drug dependence, substance-related disorders, substance abuse treatment centers, Philippines


Objective. This paper presents the experiences of, and lessons learnt from, a seven-year government-academecivil society collaboration in the development, implementation, and evaluation of a training program for Filipino physicians and rehabilitation practitioners on the management of drug dependence.

Methods. Review of memoranda, records, and reports relevant to the initiation and implementation of the training activity. Where relevant, we also perused internal notes and minutes of meetings written by the authors, who are also members of the training team.

Results. A tripartite collaboration between government, academe, and professional organizations developed a training program on the management of drug dependence for physicians and rehabilitation practitioners. Learnercentered approaches to education were adopted in the delivery of training content. Participation in the training is a prerequisite for government accreditation as rehabilitation professionals. A ladderized approach to the training was adapted, with participants first obtaining a broad introduction to the program, followed by in-depth focus on the assessment and management of drug dependency. This was done as a response to the perception that a single, twoweek training program is insufficient to fully capacitate physicians and rehabilitation practitioners with the requisite knowledge and skills necessary to manage persons with drug dependence. Future plans include an executive course for established practitioners, and a course on community-based management of drug dependency.

Conclusion. The current perspective on drug use and dependence is transitioning from a politico-legal issue to a public health concern. Attaining the sustainable development goals in 2030 will necessitate the development of a cadre of professionals who are, among others, capable of assessing and treating persons who suffer from drug dependence. The Philippine experience may serve as a model for other countries struggling with the drug menace.


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