DOH Secretary Dr. Paulyn Jean B. Rosell-Ubial made the estimate during a recent press briefing as she cited the current number of drug surrenderers to authorities totaling 712,730.
“About 90 to 95 percent of the surrenderers actually fall in the community-based rehabilitation (category) and about two to three percent of them are outpatient. About one to two percent are in the residential rehabilitation program,” Secretary Ubial said.
She added that those who will be fitted to the residential rehabilitation program are those categorized as belonging to the “complicated or advanced” form of drug dependence.
These people are also classified as "heavy compulsive drug users."
The Health Chief said that those falling in the community-based rehabilitation are those that can already be assisted by barangay officials and social workers because they are just “experimental users.”
Experimental users are those who get addicted but not very much considered addicted as they have taken the substances because of curiosity, peer pressure, problems and other influencing factors.
They are also among those who are not frequent users of illegal drugs or substance abuse.
Under the community-based rehabilitation program, the drug users will be jointly managed by the local government unit (LGU) health professionals, community volunteers and church-based organizations together with social workers and other partners.
These people will work together with the families of the drug users in terms of ensuring that they will not go back to the said "old bad habit" that can ruin not only their lives but of others because of the negative effects of drugs that can result to crimes.
The Health Secretary said the outpatient components are those who can be referred to primary healthcare professionals but need not be placed in rehabilitation facilities.
She explained that since the number of surrenderers has been going up since the start of the Duterte administration's fight against drugs took place, the creation of community-based rehabilitation program has been looked upon and complemented with hastening of the training of health professionals that can handle and manage them.
“In August alone, we have trained about 1,300 health professionals in the country to do the brief counselling and assessment,” Dr. Ubial said.
She added that the DOH has already started giving four-day training courses to doctors and nurses to enable them to provide brief counselling and assessment of drug users in the barangays.
The brief course aims to give the said health professionals the capability to classify who among the surrenderers are fitted to a particular type of rehabilitation program by assessing and profiling them also based on the scope or level of their addiction.
Community-based rehab is also appropriate to do since the country has only 13 treatment and rehabilitation centers, which are already filled with patients and will not be enough to accommodate all.
The biggest of the said treatment center can be found in Bicutan, Taguig City. It is called the DOH-Treatment and Rehabilitation Center.
In line with the need to accommodate other drug surrenderers, the construction of a treatment and rehab center in Nueva Ecija, dubbed as "Mega Treatment and Rehabilitation Center," is currently being hastened and is targetted to open by November of this year.
The Health Chief said that in view of the big number of drug surrenderers, the expansion of the capacity of the Nueva Ecija mega treatment and rehab center from 2,500 to 10,000 patients is also being done right now.
She added that as a preparation, they will hold a job fair on Sept. 22 at the Robinsons' Mall in San Fernando City, Pampanga to recruit personnel needed for the rehabilitation of drug dependents.
“The job fair is to open the positions for personnel who will help us in staffing the new mega treatment and drug rehab center,” Dr. Ubial said.
She clarified, however, that the positions that will be open will be for contractual or job order only as the budget proposal for 2017 is still pending in the Congress. (PNA)