The Dangerous Drugs Board and the Department of Science and Technology-Food and Nutrition Research Institute, officially launch three dietary manuals to be used in Treatment and Rehabilitation Centers (TRCs) in the Philippines.

Based on a study conducted by DOST-FNRI on the nutrition and quality of life of Persons Who Use Drugs (PWUDs), the manuals are designed to provide guidelines on the adoption of a balanced diet for PWUDs. This is seen to contribute to a significant decline in depression, severe psychological distress, and marked improvement in quality of life.

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To come up with the manuals, researchers from DOST-FNRI led by Dr. Imelda Angeles-Agdeppa, conducted benchmarking and profiling of TRCs to identify treatment gaps. Results were then used to develop nutrition management guidelines and recipes for PWUDs. A “recovery diet” with high protein, fiber and healthy fats and less refined carbohydrates, added sugar, processed foods and caffeine are recommended Effects of integrating these guidelines and standardized recipes in the treatment and management of the PWUDs were also evaluated.

Improvement was seen in the nutritional status of PWUDs consuming the “recovery diet.” Along with this, lowered depression state and decreased psychological distress were also observed among the PWUDs. Increased scores in physical health, psychological health, social relationships, and environmental health domains exhibit a better quality of life for the PWUDs.

The study provided positive results and strong evidence that diet and nutrition management is necessary to a balanced and improved treatment and rehabilitation plan for PWUDs.

Secretary Catalino S. Cuy, Chairman of the DDB, said that “the manuals have an impressive collection of information, recipes and guidelines that explores the correlation between recovery and nutrition.”

He also encouraged treatment and rehabilitation centers to adopt the guidelines as part of their everyday operations. “Hopefully, all public and private rehabilitation centers in the country will follow these nutritional management guidelines and will be seeing great progress from its implementation,” Sec. Cuy said.

Joining the Chairman of the DDB in leading the launch were Secretary Fortunato T. de la Pena of the DOST and Assistant Secretary Nestor Santiago of the Department of Health.

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Secretary de la Pena highlighted that psychological interventions coupled with proper nutrition, results to shortened recovery time and entails lower rehabilitation costs among families of the PWUDs and the government. “Our TRCs could now officially incorporate the use of Nutrition Management Guidelines in the rehabilitation regimen of PWUDs and utilize the Recipe books in the preparation of low-cost nutritious meals,” he said.

Representatives of different TRCs in attendance receive copies of the manuals to serve as guides for the implementation of nutrition services in the rehabilitation regiment and in preparation of varied, balanced and nutrient-dense meals and snacks for PWUDs.

This study is part of the efforts to continuously improve demand reduction initiatives and strengthen intervention programs in treatment and rehabilitation facilities in line with the implementation of the Philippine Anti-Illegal Drugs Strategy.