Study on put up of drug testing center sought

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City officials directed the City Health Services Office (CHSO) to conduct and submit a financial study to support the proposed establishment of a drug testing center in the city taking into consideration the implementing rules and regulations governing licensing and accreditation of drug testing laboratories in the country.

Further, the CHSO was requested to also submit to the City Council a draft of the proposed Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with confirmatory drug testing laboratories for study and consideration by the council.

Under Resolution No. 350, series of 2021, signed by Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong, among the reasons previous cited by local health experts in not pushing for the put up of the drug testing center include the initial amount of P200,000 is supposed to be utilized in purchasing the necessary basic equipment, such as refrigerator, freezer and other necessary equipment based on the procedures used and the drug testing kits which will test referrals from the Baguio City Schools Division, the barangay anti-drug abuse council (BADAC), the city anti-drug abuse council (CADAC), and other agencies.

However, city health officials informed the body that the approved amount for the said purpose was not enough to purchase the prescribed equipment and materials.

Earlier, the CHSO prepare the space for the drug testing laboratory would have been housed at the clinical chemistry and the toilet facility near it was prepared for the collection of urine specimens, but the other needed equipment like the computer, landline phone and internet connection could not be installed because of the said problems so the CHSO aborted the project.

Ordinance No. 32, series of 2004, provided for the establishment of a drug testing center at the CHSO and charging the initial amount of P200,000 for the purpose against the current appropriations for the CADAC.

Moreover, the same was amended by Ordinance No. 23, series of 2005, which introduced amendments to a number of sections of the earlier approved local legislation.

In a letter dated April 22, 2021, Dr. Ruby C. Constantino, regional director of the Cordillera office of the Department of Health (DOH-CAR), interposed no objection to the proposal of the city government to put up a drug testing laboratory in the CHSO as long as the process for the subsequent issuance of the required certificate of accreditation will be followed.

The council stipulated there is a need for the CHSO to provide the body with the appropriate financial study to support the proposed establishment of the drug testing laboratory to guide the members on future actions to undertake on the matter.

The proposed put up of the drug testing laboratory at the CHSO aims to add services offered by the health center that will guarantee the immediate and timely release of drug test results of people undergoing such test in the local health facility.

Individuals required to undergo drug test have to seek the services of private drug testing laboratories for the immediate release of their drug test results. By Dexter A. See