Sotto urges DepEd to include drug abuse prevention education program in grades 5 and 6
By Jason de Asis

SENATE OFFICE, Manila, November 28, 2010-Senate Majority Leader Vicente C. Sotto III asked the Department of Education (DepEd) to seriously consider a “drug abuse prevention education program" and appropriate a portion of its proposed P207.3 billion budget on 2011.

Sotto urged DepEd to include in their regular curriculum of grades 5 and 6 pupils the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program for 2011 school year to further boost the government's campaign against drug addiction among minors.

The Senator believed “as they say, prevention is better than cure,” in the preventive education  as more effective tools rather than keeping them away from drugs, gangs and violence to help promote a drug-free community, pointing out that the day to stop buying illegal drugs is the day that these drug lords will stop selling.

He would like to see the DARE program carried out on a nationwide coverage where substance abuse and peddling of illegal drugs are rampant and it can be pilot-tested in three regions particular in the National Capital Region (NCR), Region 7, and 10.
Sotto explained that the DARE program in the country's educational system which will be a collaborative effort with law enforcement agencies has been in practice in the United States and it originated as a collaborative effort between the Los Angeles Unified School District and the Los Angeles Police Department in 1983, adding that the program will provide students a better understanding of the effects of mind-altering drugs while it also helps them recognize and resist peer pressure who are experimenting the use of illegal substance.
In the Philippines, there had been successful DARE program in General Santos City and La Union through the initiative of the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB), when Sotto was still the chairman.

Sotto said the DARE program is an inexpensive undertaking in campaigning against drug abuse in the country and we have to enhance the DARE program and introduce it to grade 5 and 6 pupils to prepare them and make them aware of the ill effects and consequences of taking illegal drugs. (Jason de Asis)