December 10, 2022

To keep the youth away from illegal drugs, developing their critical thinking skills during their basic education is a more effective strategy.

This is why the Department of Education integrated in its basic education curriculum drug prevention topics and other strategies that will raise the awareness of learners on the dangers of illegal drugs without having to employ scaring techniques.

DepEd-Cordillera Medical Officer Angeline Calatan said fear-based messaging or scare tactics do not work in drug prevention among the young.

Instead of scaring the children about the consequences they will face when they use illegal drugs, Calatan said developing the learners’ critical thinking ability is more effective.

“Besides learning the concepts, it is important that we develop the children’s critical thinking skills so they how to choose between good and bad and be able to resist or say no to drugs,” Calatan said.

Citing a reference from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Calatan said like in interventions in learning, scare tactics are less effective strategy in convincing the youth to stay away from illegal drugs.

“We can’t scare children to learn about illegal drugs. Equally important in increasing awareness on drugs is developing the children’s critical thinking skills. The learners should be trained to say no to drug use besides learning what is illegal drugs,” Calatan said.

In the campaign against illegal drugs, the DepEd is focusing on demand reduction, which, Calatan said, is one of the five pillars of action being used to address the country’s drug problem.

Aside from teaching the learners topics dealing on illegal drugs, Calatan said another strategy employed by the DepEd to keep the youth from drug use is through co-curricular activities, such as the Barkada Kontra Droga (BKD), which is implemented by Learners Support Services-Youth Formation Division.

The BKD was designed by the Dangerous Drugs Board as a preventive education and information program through the groups organized to provide and support activities that promote awareness on drug prevention and intervention.

For Calatan,the best drug prevention strategy is to keep the children in school and get the dropouts back to school. – Jane B. Cadalig