Health dept leads dangerous drug abuse summit

By on February 8, 2017

MANILA –The Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday spearheaded the Dangerous Drug Abuse Summit that focused on the early wins of the war against drugs in Central Luzon.

Keynoting the event that was held at the Royce Hotel in Clark Freeport Zone, Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial highlighted the best practices and initiatives done within and outside Central Luzon to foster learning across political boundaries.

Ubial said her department, together with its partner agencies, wants to help drug surrenderers live a drug-free life and transform them into productive members of the community, help them reconnect with their families and the society, and help reduce the prevalence of substance abuse disorder and its health-related effects.

The DOH, she said, is involved in the rehabilitation of drug surrenderers, who are considered “victims” who need treatment and rehabilitation to give them a chance to reform themselves and mainstream them into society so they can be part of nation building.

“In the context of public health and to limit the harm to people who are affected by drug use and dependence, their families, and the rest of the community, it is upon the DOH and its partner agencies to come up with strategies to address the high influx of drug users who surrendered, and help in the process of rehabilitation and reintegration back to society,” Ubial said.

During the summit, inputs from the Dangerous Drugs Board and World Health Organization (WHO) were shared, as well as the best practices from the provinces of Bohol, Tarlac, and Bataan. Efforts to improve health services and updates on the Dangerous Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment Program (DDAPTP) were also discussed for the effective alignment of programs and implementation at the grassroots level.

At present, the Mega Drug Abuse Treatment and Rehabilitation Center (DATRC) in Palayan City, Nueva Ecija has 127 patients, mostly from Nueva Ecija and Bulacan. They are provided with group-dynamic activities, psycho-educational lectures, and meditations.

Ubial further said that they want to convene other potential stakeholders and partners in the fight against dangerous drugs use as this is one of the priorities to achieve the DOH slogan of “All for Health Towards Health for All”.

She noted that corporate stakeholders could take part by providing the recovering drug users job internship since employment itself is therapeutic, while civil society organizations could provide job training to assist the drug users in their recovery.