SENATE Minority Leader Ralph Recto warned that it will take “200 years” to rehabilitate all 1.3 million drug dependents nationwide if the government fails to construct additional rehabilitation centers.
He noted that of the reported 1.3 million drug addicts in the country today, 600,000 have supposedly surrendered to authorities. But Recto deplored the lack of rehabilitation facilities with only “3,216 beds” available for drug dependents in government and private drug rehabilitation centers.
“Rehabilitation must always be a companion measure of an anti-drug abuse drive. The expansion of the drug wars must trigger the expansion of our drug rehabilitation system,” said Recto.
He lamented that almost half, of the country’s regions do not have a government rehabilitation center. He underscored this huge gap between drug dependents and treatment facilities in calling for the setting up of more state-run treatment centers for substance abuse.
For the 600,000 who had surrendered, Recto said it will take almost a century to finish treating them all using as his basis the six-month period before a dependent “graduates” from treatment.
He also revealed that the P635 million budget this year of the Department of Health (DoH) for the operation of its drug abuse treatment and rehabilitation centers “can only help a small fraction of the drug addict population.”
“That funding level was based on the projected normal volume of patients. It did not factor in the tens of thousands of dependents who surrendered to authorities in the hope that they will be helped in weaning themselves of their vice,” he said.
Recto noted that there are only 42 drug rehabilitation centers nationwide. Of this, 14 are government, 25 private. The three others are “non-residential centers.”
There are DoH- accredited public and private rehab centers in NCR, Regions I, III, IV-A, V, VI, VII, X, XI and Caraga, leaving Regions II, CAR, IV-B, VIII, IX, XII, and ARMM without.
Government-run rehab centers, meanwhile, can be found in NCR, Regions I, IV-A, V, VI, VII, X, XI and Caraga, and none in Regions II, CAR, III, IV-B, VIII, IX, XII, and ARMM.