GENERAL SANTOS CITY (PNA) — The provincial government of South Cotabato has enlisted an initial 2,362 surfacing drug personalities in parts of the province for drug treatment, rehabilitation and other related interventions.
Dr. Rogelio Aturdido Jr., chief of the Integrated Provincial Health Office, said Wednesday these comprise the surfacing Personalities Involved on Drugs or SPIDs in the area who completed their screening and assessment last month.
He said they specifically used the Alcohol, Smoking and Substance Involvement Screening Test or ASSIST developed by the World Health Organization for the assessment.
ASSIST was introduced to screen drug users on methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu and other substance abuses, he said.
“The screening focuses on determining the severity of mental health conditions of drug users,” said Aturdido, who heads the local government’s technical working group on interventions for the SPIDs.
The official said they have so far screened about 36.4 percent of the 6,490 drug users and pushers who had surfaced and voluntarily surrendered to authorities within the province’s 10 towns and lone city.
He noted that the program’s implementation was hampered by the reluctance of some personalities to submit themselves to the screening process.
As of the end of March, 10 of the area’s 11 local government units have adopted and implemented the ASSIST.
Polomolok town posted the most number of screened personalities with 744, followed by Koronadal City with 383, Sto. Nino with 367, Tantangan with 211, Tboli with 168, Surallah with 144, Lake Sebu with 131, Tupi with 104, Norala with 64, and Tampakan with 46.
Based on the results of the severity test on the use of shabu, a total of 76 individuals or three percent were found at severe risk level, 677 or 29 percent at moderate risk, and 1,609 or 68 percent at low risk.
In terms of wellness and recovery, he said those in low risk levels only need general interventions such as health education, social and spiritual support and other related interventions.
Those in moderate risk levels will need to undergo facility-based intensive outpatient treatment and rehabilitation, which includes counselling, support group integration and relapse prevention sessions, he said.
For severe risk cases, Aturdido said the identified personalities should undergo in-patient treatment and rehabilitation that includes detoxification, drug treatment and rehabilitation, and residential care in mental health facilities.