Dumaguing: Fast facts about drug addiction

DRUGS in Baguio City? Indeed, as per statement of Mr. Jose Marlo Pedrigosa.

In a TV interview to commemorate Drug Abuse Prevention Week during last 7 days of November, the Undersecretary stressed that aside from the National Capital Region ( NCR) and its immediate neighbors, drug facilities have been found in Tarlac and yes, Baguio City. And that heroin has been traced to a place near Lipa City. Quite an alarming and shocking news to he rather complacent and peace-loving citizens of the City of pines. Of course, he was quick to emphasize that the bigg cities like Cebu, Cagayan de Oro and Davao are also bothered and burdened by the drug menace.

The PDEA is a member of the Dangerous Drug Board and is working duble-time to deal with the problem considering that as of today, drug cartels from China and Mexico have established connections with locals plus the disturbing reality that the Philippines, because of its strategic location has become a transit point for drug distribution.

From the standpoint of pharmacology, drugs or more specifically, the dangerous, prohibited addicting drugs can be classified either as " downers" or " uppers". As the name implies, downers are those that cause drowsiness, decreased sensitivity to outside stimuli, lethargy, some numbness thus, the person claims to feel less pain.Thus, drugs like sedative tranquilizers, sleeping pills belong to this class. During the 60s and 70s, teenagers would pop a tablet of Metaqualone or Quaalude and claim that all their pains- physical and emotional - are diminished. Mr. Pedrigosa says that the users of downers have a typical look- drooping eyelids, " stoned withdrawn, isolated posture", and if the eys are flashed with light, the pupils would be extremely constricted.. On the other hand, users of "uppers" would have blood shot eys- which explains why even in the dark, they were dark glasses - plus a fully dilated pupil which causes photopobia- avoidance of bright light because of the discomfort and even pain it causes. Chronic users of uppers have dry gums and most of the time, dental carries. Uppers give the user euphoria- heightened sense of well-being, which explains the need to frequently obtain the drug. As the name implies, it activates the sensorium of the person, that's why users show facial expression of contentment and blissful happness as they listen to the music, with their claim that they hear all the instruments in the orchestra playing or that colors become vividly clear in a painting. Some baby boomers , would honestly and casually mention having tried popping a pill or tablet of Benzedrine or Dexedrine to try the supposed high provided by these amphetamines, especailly if they belong to the so-called " Flower People" born during the Age of Aquarius. The Beatles got into some kind of trouble with their song, Lucy in the Sky with her Diamonds. Moralists and some high-ranking church personalities berated the boys from Liverpool for exulting the addicting effects of LSD- or lysergic acid diethylamine, for the striking resemblance of letters of the song with the substance.

Metamphetamine or more popularly known as shabu, has been the main course in the legal menu of the PDEA . As Mr. Pedrigosa openly admitted, shabu has become a perennial headcahe of law-enforment agencies for the simple reason that shabu can be made by anyone with a basic knowledge of chemistry, and may be produced in a basic laboratory facility. To make matters worse, the precursor chemicals or ingredients are quite easy also to obtain. Still, the gentleman assured the public that his boss, Executive Director Ryan Reyes are working very closely with the PNP and NBI to closely monitor the activity of the perpetrators of the drug menace, including inspection of incoming cargoes, surveillance as well as obsevation of behavior of drug pushers s well as their intended consumer-users. Moreover, Mr. Pedrigosa allayed the fears and doubts of some citizens as to where captured drugs go- their is proper inventory and classification of the drug, properly stored, carefully guarded and agin, a strict inventory of the quality and quantity of the captured drug before they are burned in an appropriate incinerator.

Next Week: The Whys and Hows of Addiction

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