CEBU CITY, July 8 (PIA) -- Political will of local government units (LGUs) and its receptiveness to handle the drug rehabilitation program are among the issues that need to be addressed in order to succeed in the war against illegal drugs, a top official of the Department of Health (DOH) in Central Visayas said.
Dr. Dino Caing, head of the non-communicable disease of DOH-7, said only San Remigio town in northern Cebu had successfully conducted the community-based drug rehabilitation program here in the region.
What is the secret to their success?
Caing emphasized the seriousness and the political will of San Remigio Mayor Mariano Martinez in personally handling the drug rehabilitation program.
“San Remigio was successful because he handled this by himself. He personally conducts the inspection of attendance in every barangay,” Caing said.
In case a barangay official, municipal health staff or official was absent, Caing said the mayor calls them to report to his office to explain their absence.
There were 812 drug surrenderers who graduated from the 12-week community-based drug rehabilitation program and all of them underwent a holistic drug rehabilitation approach which includes psychosocial, spiritual and medical intervention.
The health official highlighted the importance of community-based rehabilitation program citing that 90 to 95 percent of the drug users in the region are mild users.
Mild users, Caing explained, are those that can be treated under the community-based rehabilitation program and do not need to be admitted in a rehabilitation facility.
“We view a drug user not as a criminal but a mental patient suffering chronic relapsing disease,” he said.
In a data provided by DOH-7, Caing said there are 109,000 surrenderers in the region that needed to undergo drug rehabilitation.
Central Visayas ranked fourth all over the country in the number of drug surrenderers. The National Capital Region (NCR) topped the list followed by Region IV-A and Region III.
The DOH is also targeting to achieve 100 percent establishment of a community-based drug rehabilitation program in every LGU by 2022 or by the time the term of President Rodrigo Duterte ends, said Caing.
In Cebu province, only San Remigio was the first to complete the implementation of the community-drug rehabilitation program involving all of its 27 barangays.
Other LGUs that are currently implementing it are the cities of Cebu, Mandaue and Bogo and the towns of Sogod in the north and Argao in the south.
Other LGUs that have yet to start their community-drug rehabilitation program are the municipalities of Tabogon, Tabuelan, Daanbantayan, Medellin and Carmen in the north and the city of Lapu-Lapu as well as Cordova town in Metro Cebu area.
In Bohol, the LGUs currently implementing the program are the city of Tagbilaran and the towns of Lila, Inabanga, Candijay, Alburquerque, Loay, Guindulman, Baclayon, Talibon and Tubigon.
For Negros Oriental, only the city of Canlaon was cited by the health agency as the LGU currently implementing the program.
As for Siquijor, DOH-7 is still currently conducting the Alcohol, Smoking, Substance Involvement Screening Tool – Brief Intervention (ASSIST-BI) to profile the drug surrenderers and their level of drug use and dependency.
Meanwhile, Caing said DOH-7 will be entering into a memorandum of agreement (MOA) together with the Mandaue City Government and the private sector in the establishment of a recovery home in the city.
A pilot project in the region, the recovery home would serve as a rehabilitation facility for those drug users classified under moderate users, where they will be monitored to take their medication. (fcr/Jan Karla Madrio, UP Cebu intern/PIA7)