Sunday, September 15, 2019

Balweg: Talking of illegal drug addiction and drug addicts

THERE is still a hesitancy in the pursuit of a war in the Philippines against addiction to illegal drugs, particularly shabu. For a number of the citizens, there are even expressions of shock. They seem to forget that war is war. And that a convincing majority approved it in the last national elections when they voted to office a presidential candidate who made it his banner vision and mission to effect a drug-free Philippines because he “loves my co-Filipinos.”

Illegal drug in the present Philippine context is nothing else but what we call in the Iloko vernacular “gamud”. Gamud is in English “poison” but it is not ordinary poison in the sense that is not incidental but purposively so. Its purpose is to destroy the very well-being of a person in order to attain some subjective end. What if destroys is the personness of the person to approximate a genetic change. That is where the evilness of shabu arises.

To illustrate what I am trying to say, mercury is a poison but only when it is misused. If it is used for its purpose, namely, to separate the pure gold from the dirt attendant to it when still in the state of a gold nugget, it is not poison. But if you drink it to quench your thirst, it becomes a poison because it is not for that purpose and it destroys your health. Addiction or strong urgency to use shabu or its likes is a social evil that must be eliminated by whatever means it deserves. The elimination of this social evil includes the elimination of incorrigible agents thereof.

The evilness of illegal drug is now non-debatable. It is not just feared but positively abhorred by a normal human being because it brings not only psychic and ultimately physical death to its immediate victim but to more victims of that victim--the first user-pusher.

Take this Mando (pseudo-name) who came from the province to look for a better life here in the city. He found a job in a terminal where he ended as a drug user and then a pusher. Upon patient convincing for him to return to his home place to free him from his misfortune as manifested by his physical and mental conditions, he did return only to bring greater misery to his family and other relatives. He would not work, he would not take a bath, he would intimidate, he even dismantled the family house to transfer it to a ravine atop a roaring river current.

Another case was a graduating nursing student in Dagupan City who pursued her studies as a working student for four years. She failed to arrive home one late evening only to be found the next day allegedly barbecued by three addicts who insisted they took her for pig.

A mother in a town near Baguio repeatedly suffered bruises on her body by her son when she could not produce money for the same son to buy more illegal drug to satisfy his cravings. When police were called by barangay neighbors, the mother would still try to protect him for fear of further mistreatment in the house later.

As time went on, not only ordinary families suffer from having a troublesome member in the family but also the malpractice became a fad in affluent families and soon of politically powerful ones.

Even a police officer was proud to tell people that he got his promotion by leading a raiding team to a marijuana plantation that he himself had put up to be planted by a farmer friend.

Just after the CAR was established by virtue of Executive Order 220, a policeman from Hongkong gave me a wristwatch as a souvenir while telling me that he had worked for twenty-five years in their rehabilitation center but never had he seen one addict who was truly rehabilitated permanently. An addict may show rehabilitation effect while at the center but when returned outside he/she would revert back to old addictive ways. So he counsels seriously, “Prevention is still the better option in treating” the addiction menace.

Next in the category comes this elementary teacher who before serving in an outskirt school was almost a paradigm of kindness and thoughtfulness bringing joy and courage wherever she resided. But after falling into the trap of silver-tongued drug pushers, she became just the opposite of what she formerly was: a talking bird causing people to quarrel, insolent, a bane to her in-laws, a proud competitor to her husband, an unfit adviser to her children, fond of filing self-caused cases in court to the chagrin of the court personnel when she would even chide the poor judge in public. Surely not herself anymore. She, the one who before had given me calamansi plants to grow in our home garden to remember her by. She literally died before her death.


The family members, the school mentors and, oh yes, the church ministers should do their respective jobs to make that necessity be undone. It does not help any to just be satisfied with crying “foul” to a party implementing the remedy it sincerely knows best.

So, before one or many more in the family or the neighborhood be victimized in a sort of domino effect, a mandated elimination of virulent agents of genetic death may become necessary to supplement a failure of prevention. That is, after a due declaration of war against the plague.

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