By By Fernan A. Gianan
Unclear policy on drug dependency exams
posted 28-Aug-2019  ·  
600 views  ·   0 comments  ·  

A lot of head-scratching has been observed among DILG officials with regards to the new administration at the municipality of Virac.

According to reliable sources, the municipal leadership has yet to reorganize the memberships of the local special bodies such as the School Board, Health Board, Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, Municipal Development Council, Municipal Peace and Order Council.

It is claimed that except for the membership of the Bids & Awards Committee (BAC), none of the other bodies have been brought to Mayor Posoy Sarmiento for his approval and signature, despite an assurance by the new municipal administrator that the documents were ready a month ago.

Perhaps, the mayor and his advisers are having some difficulty selecting which officials are to be made members of the special bodies.

But time is of the essence, if the Sarmiento administration is to go on a more active footing to fulfill the promises it made to the “kasaradayan” during the campaign.

Most of his constituents wants to see him succeed in his advocacy, as long as it is done within the bounds of current laws and policies.

*****

There is some confusion as far as the reported P3,000 fee for drug dependency examination being demanded of those accused of drug offenses who have availed of the plea bargain agreement.

While the Dangerous Drugs Board has set the fees for drug tests at P200 for government laboratories and P250 for private clinics offering such tests, there is apparently none for the conduct of drug dependency examinations.

Under the provisions of Republic Act 9165, the Department of Health is authorized to charge reasonable fees for drug dependency examinations and other medical and legal services provided to the public. The fees are to accrue to the Dangerous Drugs Board as part of the special funds for the implementation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

A look at the DOH website or a query on the Internet does not turn up any item concerning such a reasonable fee for the drug dependency examination.

For sure, the procedure to be conducted by a DOH-accredited physician is a lot more expensive than the P250 drug test.

In the procedure, the doctor evaluates  the  extent  of  drug  abuse  of a person and determines  whether he/she is a drug dependent or not, which includes history taking, intake interview, determination of the criteria for drug dependency, mental and physical status,  and  the  detection  of  dangerous  drugs  in  body  specimens  through  laboratory procedures.

In the absence of a DOH policy setting the reasonable fee for a drug dependency examination, the P3,000 reportedly asked of plea bargain beneficiaries would remain in question.

    It should be noted that RA 9165 only states that DOH shall set the fees for the examination, with the income to go to the DDB. It does not specify if the DOH-accredited physician should also remit the same to the DDB.

*****

    Two more dengue patients, who both contracted the virus locally, have reportedly died, although their inclusion in the list of fatalities has not been made official. At least two more succumbed to complications, their demise attributed to other causes.

    We express our sincere sympathies to the family of the victims, having experienced the agony of having three family members diagnosed with the condition a decade ago.       

*****

INTENSE GRIEF. A man placed some flowers on the grave of his dearly departed mother and started back toward his car when his attention was diverted to another man kneeling at a grave.

    The man seemed to be praying with profound intensity and kept repeating, "Why did you have to die? Why did you have to die?"

    The first man approached him and said, "Sir, I don't wish to interfere with your private grief, but this demonstration of pain is more than I've ever seen before. For whom do you mourn so deeply? A child? A parent?"

    The mourner took a moment to collect himself and replied, "My wife's first husband."


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