THE TRAFFIC of illegal drugs is becoming a family business Northern Mindanao, notes the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).

"Illegal drugs are now a business, not anymore a bisyo (vice) considering that reliance on illegal drugs selling as source of income or livelihood has become blatant," Rosemarie Autor, PDEA 10 information officer said in an interview with Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro Monday.

"Most often here in (Cagayan de Oro) city, we capture not just one person but the whole family," Autor said.

Children usually act as drug couriers for their family, she said.

"Once, we interviewed a boy and he just shrugged and told us he didn't have the choice because if he refused, he won’t be sent to school," Autor said.

To combat the drug menace, the PDEA regional office has launched a massive information campaign to warn the youth about the harmful effects of using illegal drugs.

"Sa una pa, we are doing a massive campaign against illegal drugs because we believe na prevention is better than apprehension," Autor said.

Autor said drug users are the bottomline of the problem: "Kinsa pa man ang mupalit kung wala nay drug users?"

She said the agency is trying to find out if the drugs are produced by a secret laboratory in the city.

Last year, 5,526 grams of shabu and 159 grams of marijuana were seized in the region, and about 1,303 grams of shabu were confiscated for the first quarter this year.