Community-Based Recovery Programs for Drug Dependents


I attended a youth forum in our community one day.  The attendees were asked to list down the relevant issues of children and youth in society today.  They narrowed the issues to violence and drug dependency leading to sexual abuse resulting to teenage pregnancy and HIV/AIDS.

I come from Cebu, an island in the middle of the Philippine archipelago.  Cebu faces the challenge of dual epidemics of drug abuse and HIV/AIDS.  Based on a recent surveillance study, Cebu City has one of the highest concentrated epidemics of HIV in the Philippines and the main mode of transmission is via intravenous drug use.  This gives us an idea of the burden of the drug problem in our communities.

Over 7,000 suspected drug users and drug dealers have surrendered in Cebu province since President Rodrigo Duterte was elected on May 9.  President Duterte expressed that Cebu has the highest number of drug dependency rates in the Philippines. With the current war on drugs, thousands have voluntarily surrendered to the government for rehabilitation.  Existing rehabilitation centers can no longer accommodate patients who wish to avail treatment services in public facilities.  Hence, the government turns to the private sector, the civil society organizations and the barangays to create community-based drug rehabilitation and recovery programs which consider intensive phase, relapse prevention and skills training for alternative economic opportunities.

Drug rehabilitation is a complex program that many healthcare providers do not understand. Patients need to be treated holistically.  Healthcare providers can determine which patients would qualify for a community-based rehabilitation program.  With community support, healthcare providers can manage and follow up patients and de-load the need to institutionalize.  There would be a combination of psychological counselling, pharmacotherapy, family development, skills training, and increased advocacy campaigns to improve awareness on drug rehabilitation.  We therefore ask the question: what can we do in our own personal capacity to help rehabilitate and reintegrate these drug dependents into our community?

On June 2017, the Central Visayas Consortium for Health Research and Development will be having its innovation conference and one of the plenary lectures will be on community-based recovery programs, and we’d like to call for collaborators on researches that need to be done on this topic to find solutions to this multi-faceted emerging health issue.  We hope that we can discuss this topic academically to find solutions to this very relevant problem.  Join us on Saturday, April 1, 2017 on #HealthXPH tweetchat to discuss about community-based recovery programs for drug dependents.

T1.  In your view, what is the impact of drug dependence on your community’s health?

T2. What would be the components of a successful community-based drug recovery program?

T3.  What is the role of social media in solving drug dependency problems?