Drug rehabilitation treatment for PhilHealth beneficiaries pushed

By Sammy F. Martin

MANILA. Nov. 21 (PNA) — A lady solon has filed a measure providing affordable drug rehabilitation and treatment for PhilHealth beneficiaries that will amend Republic Act 7875.

Cavite Rep. Lani Mercado-Revilla said drug dependents shall be provided with treatment and rehabilitation in Philippine Health Insurance Corporation’s (PHIC) accredited health care provider.

The State’s policy is to adopt an integrated and comprehensive approach to health development including the rehabilitation treatment of drug dependents and individuals victimized by the menace of drug abuse.

“While law enforcement against drug users and drug pushers must be implemented, the rehabilitation of the users is equally important,” Mercado-Revilla said.

Citing the latest statistics released by the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB), Mercado-Revilla said around 1.7 million Filipinos use drugs and other illegal substances.

Mercado-Revilla said the problem of drug addiction is aggravated by the increasing new sets of designer drugs and the other variations of ecstasy given to unsuspecting high school and college students.

“The drugs that are most abused in the Philippines are marijuana, heroin, cocaine, shabu, opium, ecstasy and such inhalants as nitrates and even gasoline and solvents, as these can be the cheap way for people to get high,” Mercado-Revilla said.

The measure shall amend Republic Act 7875, otherwise known as “An Act instituting a National Health Insurance Program for all Filipinos and establishing the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) as amended by Republic Act 9241.”

Under the measure, drug dependency treatment shall be included in the benefit package of PHILHEALTH but shall be reviewed annually in keeping with its protection objectives and financial sustainability.

The drug dependency treatment package shall include rehabilitation treatment of the drug dependent, room and board, and services of health care professionals, prescription drugs and biologicals.

Drug dependent, as defined under RA9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002), is a person exhibiting a cluster of physiological, behavioral and cognitive phenomena of variable intensity, in which the use of psychoactive drug takes a high priority, involving, among others, a strong desire or a sense of compulsion to take the substance and the difficulties in controlling substance-taking behavior in terms of its onset, termination, or levels of use.

The PHIC shall issue the necessary implementing rules and regulations in consultation with the Dangerous Drugs Board and relevant sectors for the effective implementation of the proposed Act. (PNA)