The Department of Health – MIMAROPA (Oriental/Occidental Mindoro, Marinduque Romblon, Palawan) conducted on Thursday, November 26, a surprised random drug testing activities among its health workers particularly 220 hospital staff of the Ospital ng Palawan (ONP) in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan.
“We would like to ensure a drug-free workplace for the health and safety of staff and also of patients in health facilities in provinces. Drug abuse in general, may cause physical, mental and social dysfunction that affects not only the user but also the persons around him/her including co-workers,” Regional Director Eduardo C. Janairo stated.
“We have also included random drug testing among food establishment and waste management personnel, tour guides and boatmen in the region to ensure the well-being of the public,” he added.
The region started its random drug testing activities in Palawan on November 5, 2015 in Lubang, Occidental Mindoro with 215 health personnel tested; November 10, 2015 in Culion Sanitarium with 224 hospital staff; and 436 in Coron, including municipal health personnel, waste management staff, waiters and boatmen.
According to 2008 National Household Survey conducted by the Dangerous Drug Board (DDB), there are 1.7 million drug users in the Philippines and 1,700 of them die yearly. Most users are male, in their 30s, single, unemployed and high school graduate and are found in urban areas.
Republic Act 9165, also known as the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 mandates the development of drug free policies, programs and enforcement of penalties for drug related crimes.
Drug abuse has been one of the major concerns in the country. Marijuana and shabu continues to be the main cause of drug abuse. According to Janairo, urine testing is being used to detect drug users because it is easy to administer, cost efficient, publicly accepted and proven effective.
The drug testing activity is done in coordination with the Dangerous Drug Abuse Program (DDAP) of the Department of Health.
“We will continue to be doing unannounced visits in all the health facilities in the region to remove drug users in the health service, protect the health and security of personnel and maintain a drug free workplace,” Dr. Janairo concluded.