Senate Minority Leader Ralph G. Recto warned yesterday that it would take 200 years to treat all the addicts that have so far surrendered under the sustained anti-drug campaign of President Duterte.
Recto also said that the P365 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.’’
He said there are 1.3 million drug addicts in the country today, 600,000 have reportedly surrendered to authorities, but the total number of beds in all government and private drug rehabilitation centers in the country is only 3,216.
Worse, seven, or almost half, of the country’s regions do not have a government rehabilitation center.
Recto cited this statistics to underscore the huge gap between drug dependents and treatment facilities in calling for the setting up of more state-run treatment centers for substance abuse.
He warned that if the number of rehabilitation centers will remain the same, “it will take 200 years to rehabilitate all the drug dependents.”
Earlier, Sen. Alan Peter S. Cayetano, the defeated vice presidential candidate of President Duterte, said that there are three million addicts and 300,000 drug pushers in the country today.
“This is a national security problem,’’ Cayetano said, adding that the “name and shame’’ strategy of President Duterte, which is to identify those linked to the multi-billion-peso drug trade, is effective although “it is causing some discomfort but it is does not infringe on their basic human rights.’’
For the 600,000 who had surrendered, it will take almost a century to finish treating them all, Recto added, using as his basis the six-month period before a dependent “graduates” from treatment.
Recto cited a Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) estimate that the number of “dangerous drugs users” at 1,292,752 is the figure indicated in the 2016 national budget as the national prevalence of drug use which must be cut.
Not only is there a “national shortage” in drug rehabilitation facilities, there’s a funding lack too, he said.
(MARIO B. CASAYURAN)