January 7, 2020
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Department of Health (DOH) recently spearheaded efforts to train health professionals in the country on a proposed drug dependence relapse prevention program to help the Philippines strengthen its treatment and rehabilitation protocol for drug dependents.
The training for facilitators is part of an ongoing JICA-DOH technical cooperation project called Introducing Evidence-Based Relapse Prevention Program to Drug Dependence Treatment and Rehabilitation Centers (IntERlaPP) that seeks to improve treatment methods in DOH-owned treatment and rehabilitation centers (TRCs). Participants include addiction specialists, psychologists, social workers and medical doctors in the project's pilot TRCs in Bicutan, Tagaytay, and Dagupan.
"JICA will continue to contribute to a drug-free Philippines through this cooperation with DOH. We believe that inclusive development also means enabling vulnerable people like persons who use drugs (PUWDs) to integrate themselves back to society," said JICA Philippines Senior Representative Ayumu Ohshima.
The training tackled a new treatment program called Intensive Treatment and Rehabilitation Program for Residential TRCs or INTREPRET. Said program adopts an intensive drug treatment program called Matrix Model used in the Matrix Institute of Addiction in the United States that will be introduced in the local context. It features cognitive behavioral therapy, social support, psycho-education, and self-help as treatment components.
Already, the project team and DOH representatives visited drug treatment facilities in Japan and the US Matrix Institute in 2018 to study other countries' approaches to drug treatment and rehabilitation.
Aside from the treatment program, JICA also provided a 1.85 billion yen grant for the construction of a treatment and rehabilitation center. While there is no one size fits all approach to addressing drug abuse, the project endevours to help former drug dependents move towards positive steps to recovery.
Latest data from government showed that 50% of drug dependents in the Philippines are unemployed. On the other hand, preliminary study of JICA and DOH on illicit drug use in the country in 2018 showed that out of 3,000 recovering drug dependents in the country's TRCs, 33% of them have zero or less than 1,000 pesos income.
Aside from supporting sustainable economic growth through socioeconomic infrastructure and peace and development in Mindanao, JICA has also been supporting the Philippines overcome its vulnerability through projects in education, disaster management, environment and health among others.