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MAASIN CITY, Southern Leyte, Oct.5 (PIA) – The Department of Public Works and Highways – Southern Leyte District Engineering Office (DPWH-SLDEO) is determined on helping employees find the way out of illegal drugs abuse by initiating the first step of the long road to recovery through the conduct of a drug awareness campaign, Monday, at DPWH Function Room here.

More than 200 workers from the engineering department participated in the symposium with speakers from the Department of Health – Treatment and Rehabilitation Center (DOH-TRC) in Dulag, Leyte who discussed the effects of illegal drug abuse, among other ill effects.

After the half-day awareness drive, employees who tested positive of illegal drugs use, permanent and job order in status, remained for a one-on-one assessment with the concerned officials.

The report said that the assessment is aimed at finding out the extent of drug use and dependency and find out suitable rehabilitation process.

Earlier in a surprise drug test conducted with the DPWH employees in coordination with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), 23 employees were found positive of illegal drugs use – 17 are job order workers and six permanent personnel.

The source said that all the six regular workers showed up while 12 laid off workers submitted themselves to the assessment procedure. Five declined the invitation, it was learned.

The DPWH-SLDEO required those permanent employees tested positive of illegal drugs to undergo a mandatory rehabilitation program, while dismissed job order workers were given the option to recover and regain their jobs after securing a drug-free certificate from DOH-TRC.

"If you still want to work in DPWH, I encourage you to help yourselves completely abandon illegal drugs use because this is your only and last chance," Information Officer-designate Rouella May Altar quoted DPWH-SLDEO District Engineer Ma. Margarita Junia during the drug awareness campaign .

The SLDEO will provide a space at the Area Equipment Service compound in Barangay Ibarra for the conduct of weekly session for drug users. The session will run for 10 months, it was learned further.

To sustain the drug-free workplace program, DPWH-SLDEO will draft a policy, outlining regulations and sanctions for violators. (rgc/PIA8-SL/with reports from DPWH-SLDEO)