The Department of Health (DOH) – MIMAROPA (Oriental/Occidental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan) Special Medical Action Response Teams (S.M.A.R.T.) together with the local health officials of the Calamian Group of Islands have started its screening and assessment of drug surrenderees on November 18, 2016.
The Calamian group of islands in the province includes the islands of Busuanga, Coron, Culion, Calauit, Malcapuya, Banana, Pass and Calumbuyan.
According to Regional Director Eduardo C. Janairo, health workers of Busuanga, Coron and Culion have already undergone the drug screening and assessment training provided by the regional office. “They are now trained to handle the screening and assessment of drug surrenderees in the area. They will also be supported by the DOH-Mimaropa S.M.A.R.T. teams”.
According to the Provincial Department of Health Office of Palawan (PDOH) as of October 19, 2016, there were 470 drug users and 35 drug pushers who voluntarily surrendered to local authorities in Coron, the 2nd biggest municipality in the Calamian group of islands. There are now a total of 4,268 drug users and 343 drug pushers recorded in Palawan.
Janairo added that drug surrenderees in Mimaropa will undergo a wellness and recovery program involving community mobilization and brief intervention activities that will be initiated by local government units.
Counselling, medical check-up and random drug testing among the drug surrenderees will also be conducted to avoid relapse.
Drug screening and assessment is required to when an individual has been arrested for a crime associated with drugs. The evaluation is carried out by a trained professional specializing in addiction and substance abuse.