Abusing illegal drugs is never right, but treating users as an outright criminal is inhuman.

Drug users must be sent to rehabilitation centers, not prisons where changing them into better versions of themselves could be a remote possibility.

Most often than not, users do not carry large amounts of prohibited substances. That is done by big-time drug traffickers.

Neophyte senator Robin Padilla is right when he said drug users caught with small amounts of illegal drugs should be sent to rehabilitation centers. He is also right when he said that drug addiction is a mental health problem and health professionals must be at the forefront in the treatment of drug dependents.

Padilla’s fellow senators must consider passing Senate Bill 202 filed last July and authored by Sen. Ronald dela Rosa as it aims to decriminalize illegal drug use and establish drug abuse treatment and rehabilitation centers.

According to the World Health Organization, drug dependence is a disorder that can be treated effectively with low-cost medicines and standardized psychological therapies.

Dela Rosa must not think that his legislation is a bad idea just because it might send a wrong signal to the public that illegal drug use is okay. Of course, it is never okay.

The measure’s spirit is to give drug users a second chance at life and mend their ways.

The criminals are the drug traffickers who flooded the country with illegal drugs and some members of law enforcement agencies or public officials who are protecting them.

Law enforcers must go after those individuals and bring them to justice for destroying the lives of drug dependents and their loved ones.