Dr. LEONARDO R. ESTACIO JR., anthropologist, social development and public health expert, is a professor at the Department of Behavioral Sciences and currently the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, University of the Philippines- Manila. He completed his PhD in anthropology and master in community development degrees at UP Diliman and his master in public health degree at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and did post-doctoral research on drug abuse at University of Washington in Seattle.
He trained in drug abuse research at Johns Hopkins University as a Hubert Humphrey Fellow and was a visiting scientist at the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington in Seattle. Prof. Estacio has provided technical advice and training services to various UN agencies such as the UNODC, ILO, UNICEF, UNESCAP as consultant in social development and community-based drug demand reduction. In 2000, he and his colleagues established Addictus Research and Intervention Center Inc., to assist the Philippine government in drug demand reduction work by working with families and communities and local and international partners in reducing drug use among young people in urban communities.
Currently, he leads a group of behavioral scientists and community volunteer workers in community-based treatment interventions in two selected communities in Metro-Manila in response to the surge of voluntary surrender of thousands of drug users and street pushers. His research interests include drug abuse and behavioral health among young populations, social health insurance benefit packages, community-managed health programs, delivery of health services to geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas, violence against children, sexual exploitation of children online, among others.
Designing Evidence-based Community Intervention Program for Drug Users: Towards A Restorative Justice and Behavioral Health Approach
What best treatment response can be provided to drug users that have “voluntarily surrendered” through the “Operation Tokhang” (a “war on drugs” campaign) in the Philippines? This paper addresses this crucial question in response to the need for a culturally fit and social justice driven intervention program for “voluntary surrenderers”. Using primary and secondary data derived from literature and from studies conducted among drug users undergoing treatment from selected treatment and rehabilitation centers and among “voluntary surrenders” in a selected community in Metro-Manila, this paper argues that current response to treatment of “voluntary surrenderers” such as zumba, sports, jogging, “simba” and the like lacks evidence-based and evidence-informed programming and thus, not responsive to the treatment needs of the “voluntary surrenderers”. Using the same data, the paper argues for a treatment response framed under a balanced approach of restorative justice and behavioral health.