Bicol needs more doctors, drug rehabilitation centers for surrenderers

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LEGAZPI CITY: The Department of Health (DOH) in Bicol said it needs more facilities and physicians to man the drug rehabilitation centers in the wake of the ballooning number of drug surrenderers across the region.

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Napoleon Arevalo, DOH regional director, said the region has 14 accredited specialist physicians but these are not enough to attend to the more than 40,000 drug dependents.

He said the health department and the police in the region are not ready to handle the huge number of surrenderers with only two rehab facilities – in Malinao town, Albay and in Camarines Sur – of limited bed capacity.

“We did not anticipate the surging number of surrenderers. The PNP and DOH are not ready to handle the big number of surrenderers due to lack of facilities, specialist physicians and luck of funds. But were trying to come up with remedial measures,” Arevalo told The Manila Times.

He said that the government allocated at least P500 million for the drug rehabilitation program in the country’s 17 regions. Two regions have no drug facilities.

Arevalo said that treatment of drug addicts requires longer period of rehabilitation to reverse substance addiction.

“A drug addict needs 11 months to stay at a rehab center for curing session, after that they need to undergo another 18 months for follow up after care. Reversing drug addicts are different from dengue and tuberculosis that can be cured for a week,” he explained.

John Concepcion, of Malinao Treatment and Rehab Center, said the government allocates P10 million annual budget for the center that currently has 69 patients, mostly from Albay and the provinces of Catandanes and Sorsogon.

Each patient has a monthly subsistence of P3, 000.

He said the center has two physicians and can accommodate up to 100 patients.

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