MANILA -- Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said Thursday that a total of 11 Drug Abuse Treatment and Rehabilitation Centers (DATRCs), to be operated by his department, are expected to be completed by the last quarter of 2019.
“As a measure to address the increasing number of clients and the lack of rehabilitation centers in some of our regions, the DOH (Department of Health) has 11 ongoing DATRC constructions with an estimated total bed capacity of 6,000 -- most of which will be completed by the last quarter of 2019,” Duque said in a Rehabinasyon press briefing in Malacañang.
There are currently 53 licensed DATRCs nationwide, only 15 of which are operated by the DOH.
Out of the 11 new DOH-accredited DATRCs, three are expected to be completed and operational before 2018 ends, while the rest are expected to be completed by the fourth quarter of 2019.
Duque said almost all of the regions have at least one DATRC except the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), Region 4-B (Mimaropa), Region 9 (Zamboanga), Region 11 (Davao), Region 12 (Soccsksargen), and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
There is also one Mega DATRC in Nueva Ecija, which has a huge bed capacity of about 2,500, while all the others have an average of just a hundred beds, he added.
The DATRCs are located in Bicutan, Taguig; Dagupan, Pangasinan; Ilagan, Isabela; Pilar, Bataan; Mega DATRC; Tagaytay; San Fernando, Camarines Sur; Pototan, Iloilo; Argao, Cebu; Mandaue, Cebu; Dulag, Leyte; Cagayan de Oro; Malaybalay, Bukidnon; and Caraga.
“This clearly illustrates how our facilities can only currently cater to a small, if not limited number of clients, and that more DATRCs should be present within the specific region,” Duque said.
Data from the DOH showed that a total of 8,662 graduate residents have successfully completed the rehabilitation program from 2016 to July 2018. On the other hand, 8,826 remain as inpatients, and 5,450 as aftercare patients.
Duque said Bataan serves the most number of drug surrenderers, followed by Cagayan de Oro, and Bicutan.
He also clarified that although there are an estimated 4 million drug users, according to data from the Philippine National Police (PNP), only about 1.3 million are surrenderers and about 94 percent are users.
“Only 0.6 (percent) to 1 percent were assessed to be needing inpatient treatment and only between 2 (percent) and 10 percent needed outpatient treatment. And of course, all the rest is the 90 percent community-based interventions,” Duque said.
“The 8,000 who graduated are those who stay in our DATRCs. But most of them, the biggest portion, are being managed on an outpatient and also community-based interventions being provided to them,” he added.
Aside from DATRCs, Duque said the DOH also has recovery facilities that can be recovery clinics or homes.
The clinics are a community-based outpatient treatment facility that will treat drug user-patients, who voluntarily enroll in the program for specialized consultations and evaluations.
On the other hand, recovery homes are community-based residential facilities, where persons suffering from mild to moderate drug dependence who cannot stably cope in their habitual environment and/or patients who cannot be fully managed in an outpatient setting can enroll voluntarily in the program.
Both recovery clinics and homes are currently in their pilot phases of implementation.
The DOH, in collaboration with the Office of the President’s Special Projects, established the Substance Abuse Helpline: ‘155’.
Duque said the hotline offers free and confidential advice, information and support and referral for individuals and family members facing substance abuse disorders, and for the communities and general public using a variety of technology-based platforms.
The health chief noted that four agents are currently available to receive calls from clients between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. but the department aims to have a total of 12 agents by 2019.
Moreover, the DOH will be exploring other technology-based platforms, such as mobile apps or SMS self-service options, and a website to ensure a wider reach.
At present, there are certain charges implemented, depending on the telephone or mobile company, for calls made to the hotline. However, he said the DOH is looking for an arrangement to make this free of charge. (PNA)