What are DSWD’s Special Drug Education Centers (SDEC)?

From July to August 2016, more than 20,500 “child surrenderees” came to the Philippine National Police (PNP). More than 98% of them were drug users, while the rest were drug pushers or couriers. These figures from the PNP Women and Children’s Protection Center were cited in a study by the Social Technology Bureau (STB) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Indeed, drug abuse has been a serious problem among Filipino youth for several decades now. It affects not only the drug users, but also their families and communities. To address this problem, the DSWD has established several programs and services in place. One of these is the Special Drug Education Center (SDEC).

DSWD Special Drug Education Centers
May 17, 2022 – After serving as isolation facilities, San Fernando Pampanga once again opened the Special Drug Education Center, Bale Lingap Kayanakan (Youth Care Facility), and Youth Development Center.
Image Credit: Department of Social Welfare and Development / Facebook

What is SDEC?

As the name says, the Special Drug Education Center (SDEC) is a community-based facility that serves as a venue for promoting preventive and developmental services for out-of-school youth (OSY) and street children. Basically, it aims to help them cope with the challenges of adolescence, including vulnerability to drug abuse.

The SDEC has several legal bases, including the international Convention on the Rights of the Child, as well as national policies such as the Child and Youth Welfare Code (PD 603), Republic Act No. 9165, and Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) Regulation No. 1, Series of 2003. It also goes in line with the DSWD’s Administrative Order No. 86, S. 2003 and Department Order No. 13, S. 2000.

Notably, Section 46 of Republic Act No. 9165 states that the DSWD, together with the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the National Youth Commission (NYC), shall establish a SDEC for OSY and street children in each of its provincial offices. Local Government Units (LGUs) at the city/municipal and barangay levels shall also be involved and provide support services.

Objectives of the Program

Generally, the SDEC seeks to promote community-based programs for drug abuse prevention. It has the end view of educating OSY and street children about the negative effects of drug abuse, thus contributing to their development as self-reliant and socially responsible members of society.

Specifically, the SDEC aims to:

  • Develop and implement drug abuse prevention programs, such as community information and education activities about the ill effects of drug abuse;
  • Build the capacities of OSY, street children, and their families towards the promotion of a positive lifestyle and a drug-free home and community;
  • Advocate for local legislation, policies and programs, as well as generate resources to support the SDEC; and
  • Establish linkages and maintain a data bank on OSY, street children, and young drug-dependents.

Target Beneficiaries

The SDEC has two major target beneficiaries:

  • Out-of-school Youth (OSY) – children and youth between 7 and 30 years old, not enrolled in any formal or vocational school, not formally employed, and not a tertiary level graduate; and
  • Street Children – children below 18 years old, young boys and girls found in urban areas who consider the street as their habitual abode and/or source of livelihood.

Components of the Program

The components of the SDEC are as follows:

1. Advocacy and Social Preparation

This component involves the expression of messages that will promote healthy, developed children and youth, as well as a drug-free home and community. It ensures the participation of existing members and structures in the community.

2. Technical Assistance and Capacity Building of Implementers

This involves the equipping of implementers with the knowledge, attitude, and skills needed in operating the SDEC.

3. Networking and Resource Generation

This component involves tapping and maximizing local as well as international resources to support the delivery of SDEC’s services.

4. Data Banking and Documentation

This involves maintaining the profile of children and youth served, number of service providers trained, and other details. It also includes the documentation of cases and good practices, which will the bases for policy/program development and replication.

5. Service Delivery

This component involves the delivery of services, including:

  • Self-Enrichment Service;
  • Interventions for the Prevention of Drug Abuse;
  • Capacity Building Services;
  • Skills Training and Livelihood Services;
  • Literacy Programs;
  • Family Counseling;
  • Community Participation;
  • Recreational Sports; and
  • Other Cultural Activities.

Benefits of the Program

The SDEC has benefits for the youth, and for the community, too.

1. For the Youth

For the OSY and street children, the SDEC encourages:

  • Active involvement and participation of the youth in community programs;
  • Heightened spirit of volunteerism across all socio-economic classes of youth in the community;
  • Development of skills and talents of the youth;
  • Knowledge and skills gained from trainings and orientation;
  • Consciousness and understanding of the ill effects of drug abuse;
  • Character building among the youth;
  • Increased productivity of the youth; and
  • Availability of a safe, nurturing, and special place for the youth of the community.

2. For the Community

Likewise, the SDEC benefits the community through the following ways:

  • Decrease in the number of young drug dependents;
  • Active involvement of the youth in community affairs;
  • Building of trust in the community leaders;
  • Promotion of health and sanitation;
  • Economic gain;
  • Consciousness of constituents on laws regarding drug abuse; and
  • Decrease in the number of drug-related crimes in the community.

Pilot Areas

The SDEC was first implemented with Pasay City (National Capital Region) and Bacolod City (Region VI) as the pilot areas. Today, there are SDECs in many provinces across the country.

Video: Opening of SDEC in Olongapo

In August 2022, a Special Drug Education Center (SDEC) was opened in Olongapo. Here is a news feature about the event, as shared by Brigada News Philippines channel on YouTube:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Meanwhile, here are some commonly asked questions about the SDEC:

1. What is SDEC?

SDEC stands for “Special Drug Education Center,” a community-based facility that serves a venue for promoting preventive and developmental services for OSY and street children.

2. What are its objectives?

The SDEC generally seeks to promote community-based programs for drug abuse prevention, with the aim of educating OSY and street children about the negative effects of drug abuse.

3. Who are its target beneficiaries?

The target beneficiaries of the SDEC are out-of-school youth (OSY), between 7 and 30 years old who are not enrolled in formal education nor formally employed, as well as street children below 18 years old who live and/or work on the streets in urban areas.

4. What are its components?

The components of the SDEC are: advocacy and social preparation; technical assistance and capacity building of implementers; networking and resource generation; data banking and documentation; and service delivery.

5. How can I learn more about it?

You can learn more about the SDEC by going to the nearest DSWD Office in your area.

Contact Information: Social Technology Bureau

If you have any questions or concerns about the SDEC, you can get in touch with the Social Technology Bureau (STB) situated at the DSWD Central Office in Quezon City. Its office hours are between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm.

Address: Social Technology Bureau, 3rd Floor, Matapat Building, Department of Social Welfare and Development – Central Office, IBP Road, Constitution Hills, Batasan Complex, Quezon City
Telephone: +632 8951 7124 / 8951 2802 / 8931 8144
Email: soctech@dswd.gov.ph
Website: https://stb.dswd.gov.ph/

Google Map:

NOTE: If you are based outside the NCR, you can contact the Regional Social Technology Unit (STU) in your province or region. Here is the STU directory, for your reference.

Infographic About Project

Meanwhile, here is an infographic about the SDEC:

DSWD Special Drug Education Centers
Image Credit: stb.dswd.gov.ph

Final Thoughts

The SDEC is just one of the initiatives of the DSWD addressing the problem of drug abuse among Filipino youth. Another program that is also worth looking into is the Yakap Bayan program, which also provides services to former drug users and their families.