A HEALTH official in Central Visayas (CV) is anticipating a surge of illegal drug dependents who want to avail themselves of rehabilitation services from the government, once President Rodrigo Duterte assumes office today.

The Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) also recently ranked the region in third place, in terms of the number of illegal drug cases.

Dr. Dino Caing, head of the Department of Health (DOH) 7 non-communicable disease section, however, admitted that the health department cannot accommodate everyone because there are only two DOH-run rehabilitation centers in the region, both based in Cebu.

These are the New Horizon Treatment and Rehabilitation Center in Argao town, which caters only to male drug dependents, and Eversley Childs Sanitarium in Barangay Jagobiao, Mandaue City, which serves the rehabilitation needs of female drug dependents.

Caing said these two centers also have limited capacities.

The Argao drug rehabilitation facility can only accommodate up to 150 patients, while Eversley can only cater up to 25 patients.

As of yesterday, both facilities were undergoing expansion.

Caing said there are private rehabilitation facilities in Central Visayas but their services cost more than those of the government-run facilities.

Outpatient services

The health official said that DOH 7 plans to put up “outpatient services” for illegal drug dependents.

Caing said that the services to be offered will only be dedicated to people who are suffering from early stages of illegal drug abuse, which can be treated through home-based rehabilitation and medication.

Early this month, DOH 7 and DDB started training doctors in the aftercare treatment of illegal drug dependents.

Caing, along with other government doctors, was trained not only in aftercare treatment but also in detecting signs of drug use, especially among people who are using substances that cannot be easily detected by conventional drug testing.

He said specialized testing is needed for those who are taking ecstasy and cocaine.

Aside from the training, the DOH 7 also plans to reactivate various units in the region dedicated to treating drug dependents through outpatient services.

In Cebu, the DOH 7 has a “halfway house” in Barangay Carreta, Cebu City that serves as a screening center for drug users before they are recommended for admission in a rehabilitation center or to undergo house treatment.

Caing said the DOH 7 already submitted a proposed budget of P20 million to revitalize the program.