The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has vowed to continue supporting programs and initiatives that help address the problem of substance use and drug addiction in the country by funding health-related research initiatives.
DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña underscored the importance of addressing the problem of substance use in the Philippines by conducting health research initiatives that will provide solutions to issues related to substance use and abuse in the country.
“I would like to assure you that we will always find means to create initiatives that will help alleviate these problems using scientific and ethically sound strategies,” De la Peña said during the National Substance Use Science Policy and and Information Forum on Tuesday, June 15.
“The DOST, through its mandate and its capacity, will continue to support activities and initiatives addressing substance use and drug abuse with focus on the role and funding of health research, and the application of science and technology for the benefit of the people,” he added.
The official said the DOST included addressing substance use, drug and alcohol abuse as a priority research area under the National Unified Health Research Agenda for 2017 to 2022, and the National Mental Health Research Agenda 2019-2022.
“This important addition will allow part of our health research initiatives to be directed towards projects that will provide solutions to the existing issues related to substance use and abuse in the country,” he said.
De la Peña said that the DOST also recently launched the Intelligent Data Analysis System or IDAS, an artificial intelligence-equipped system which predicts data analytic capabilities.
The PDEA, he said, was the first government agency to adopt such technology, as it helps in their drug trafficking investigations in the Philippines.
“Part of our focus, as part of health research, is to ensure the welfare of our fellow Filipinos who are undergoing rehabilitation and treatment due to substance use,” he said.
“Aware that the current pandemic may have had effects to them, we have partnered with the Department of Health to conduct a research on the impact of community quarantine on Persons Who Use Drugs (PWUDs),” he added.
The department has also built a pool of talented social and medical scientists, some of whom are focusing their research on mental health, to which insights on substance use are being touched.
“I hope more scientists will be involved, as we have strengthened our capacity to train more scientists, and put forward research and recommendations that are science- and evidence-based, especially on mental health, and alleviating societal concerns related to the use of illegal drugs,” De la Peña said.