Drug rehab center in Dagupan opens

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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

DAGUPAN CITY — Ilocos Region Drug Treatment and Rehabilitation Center in Barangay Bonuan Binloc here opened on Saturday to outpatients, though its dormitory and recreation facilities for inpatients are yet to be constructed early next year.

Operated by the Department of Health (DOH) through the region’s Medical Center here, the facility now initially caters to outpatients having drug problem not only from Pangasinan but also from other provinces in Ilocos Region, including those from Cordillera and Cagayan Valley.

Undersecretary Elmer Punzalan, chief of the DOH Special Concerns Department, led in the inauguration of the facility, along with former House Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr., his wife Representative Gina de Venecia (4th district, Pangasinan) and lawyer Gonzalo T. Duque, who represented Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) chairman Antonio Villar Jr.


All of them participated in the groundbreaking and laying of time capsule for the construction of dormitory and recreation facilities set to be completed next year.

Once the dormitory is completed, it can accommodate some 300 to 400 inpatients, male and female.

Punzalan assured funding for the dormitory and recreation facilities from his office, in addition to the P10-million fund turned over by DDB Secretary Villar, through Dagupan City Vice Mayor Belen Fernandez.

When funds are not still enough, the medical center is also ready to chip in some money from its modest income for hospital operation just to complete the needed dormitory and recreation center for inpatients.

Being a government facility, outpatients seeking treatment in the center is free.

Punzalan confirmed that this is the first government drug treatment and rehab center north of Manila, although there are now some privately-run drug rehabilitation centers in Baguio and other places.

He said the administration of President Benigno Aquino III intends to build one drug treatment and rehabilitation center in every region of the country, in view of the rising number of drug addicts needing rehabilitation throughout the country today.

According to Punzalan, the new Drug Treatment and Rehab Center was patterned after two other government drug rehab centers in the country -- those in Bicutan, Taguig and Tagaytay City.

Dr. Joseph Roland Mejia, Ilocos Region Medical Center chief, said the doctor, nurses and psychologists assigned at the treatment and rehab center first underwent rigid training at the drug rehab center in Bicutan, Taguig so that they can handle drug outpatients. (PNA)

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on December 06, 2011.

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