The Philippines faces serious economic and climate change challenges, but some important issues in the Philippines, such as drug abuse, long predate climate change. How can we invest climate-smart solutions that strengthen the country’s long-term resilience to extreme events? Our organization, Climate Aware, is embarking on a research project to examine the role that addressing climate change in the Philippines could play in reducing drug use. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the country has over 7,500 drug use treatment programs. Climate Aware is exploring strategies to assist in ramping up and strengthening the rehabilitation process.
New approaches to respond to drug abuse in the Philippines must fit in with national and local goals for drug control. The U.N. has already created a free online tool designed to help policymakers recognize innovative practices that have been successful at reducing abuse, and develop a set of indicators and indicators support systems that can be used to improve the outcomes. We will be looking at HIV prevention, screening, and treatment programs, potential collaborative interventions, and pathways that bring an end to use of addictive substances such as opioids, instead of relying on the current practice of punitive approaches.
If your work with climate change concerns you, this can be a valuable opportunity to shape and quantify the potential solutions that will improve a country’s capacity to address climate change.
Sally Dutta is a research specialist at Climate Aware, an organization that promotes and shares effective, scalable solutions to climate change.