SENATE Minority Leader Ralph Recto yesterday warned that it would take 200 years to reform the country’s 1.3 million drug addicts if the government does not build more rehabilitation centers.
Recto said that of the total number of drug addicts, 600,000 have reportedly surrendered to authorities. However, he noted that there are only 3,216 beds in all government and private drug rehabilitation centers in the country.
Worse, seven, or almost half of the country’s regions do not have a government rehabilitation center, he added.
Recto 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.
He used as his basis the six-month period before a dependent “graduates” from treatment.
The Dangerous Drugs Board estimated the number of “dangerous drugs users” at 1,292,752, the figure indicated in the 2016 national budget as the national prevalence of drug use which must be cut.
Recto said that aside from facilities, there is also lack of funding in putting up and maintaining these centers.
He 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.”
By Recto’s research, there are only 42 drug rehabilitation centers in the country today. Of this, 14 are government, 25 private. Three are reckoned as “non-residential centers.”
“Due to popular demand, Malacañang should plan the construction of rehabilitation centers in these regions,” Recto said.