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PDEA TESTS ON KIDS ILL-CONCEIVED – CASTELO

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) may have gone overboard with its plan to impose mandatory annual surprise drug screening tests on teachers and school children starting from the fourth grade of mostly 10-year olds, said Quezon City Rep. Winnie Castelo.

“While I fully support President Rodrigo Duterte’s signature anti-narcotics campaign which has been a game-changer in terms of improving public order, PDEA’s plan to subject children to a drug test may have a negative psychological effect on young minds,” Castelo said.

PDEA’s plan to subject children to a drug test may have a negative psychological effect on young minds.

The administration stalwart said protecting the mental well-being of children definitely has more weight than the PDEA’s purpose of identifying potential drug dependents.

Protecting the mental well-being of children definitely has more weight than the PDEA’s purpose of identifying potential drug dependents.

The Chairman of the House Committee on Metro Manila Development added that under the recently enacted Philippine Mental Health Law, it has become the responsibility of the government to protect not only the physical but also the mental health of Filipinos.

“PDEA’s justification that the proposal was meant to identify potential drug users so they ‘can get intervention while they are still young’ is too far-fetched”, Castelo said.

“The PDEA should instead focus its campaign on educating the youth and their parents of the devastating effects of drugs and provide intervention facilities to those who are hooked on illegal substances”, added Castelo.

“It does not matter if the results of the drug tests on children will be kept confidential as the PDEA had indicated in its plan since the tests may involve parameters that will violate not only privacy but also health conditions and dignity of young individuals,” he added.

Castelo is advising the PDEA to hold the widest consultation possible with parents, legislators and community leaders before launching the unpopular plan.

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