Professionals, rich also victims of drugs – PDEA PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 02 August 2015 14:25

By DOMINIC I. SANCHEZ

Drug addiction has gone beyond afflicting just the “stereotypical addicts” to professionals, and even those that live in society’s upper class.

According to Agent Marvin Santos, chief of the Plans and Operations Division of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) here, society should now realize that tattooed, thin and sullen-eyed drug addict stereotypes are not anymore applicable today.

“Addicts come from different backgrounds,” Santos explained. “We have doctors, teachers, nurses, drivers, students, government workers and many others.”

In the city and in neighboring provinces, the most common form of drug addiction is by using methamphetamine hydrochloride, more commonly known as shabu, said Santos. Users inhale the vapor that comes from heating these white crystalline-like granules.

Santos explained that users experience a sense of euphoria upon inhaling the drugs. Some might develop a highly focused sensation. However, the drugs cause sleeplessness, and more often, the user manifests paranoia, which commonly results to erratic and oftentimes violent behavior.

The drug addicts develop a craving for the drugs over time, which makes it very difficult for them to avoid drugs.

“In many cases, addicts steal to be able to satisfy their craving,” Santos said. “They become violent.”

The PDEA here has had its share of arrests of these “upper-class” drug addicts. “The parents would refuse to believe that their son is an addict, saying that he has been performing well in school. They would provide other reasons as if to convince us that their children are not addicts.”

Santos said that PDEA agents feel for the families of those they arrest in their operations. “It is hard, as agents to not think about the consequences, to what would happen to the families of the suspects,” he shared.

“Drug addiction is a menace to society, it affects not only the addict, but their families and relatives,” he said.

Santos emphasized that “we must end the demand for drugs, not just cut-off the supply”.

“If there is no demand, then suppliers will go out of business,” he said.

Recently, the PDEA and the local police have apprehended a woman, notoriously known as the city’s “Shabu Queen” for her alleged wide reach as supplier of drugs to several communities here. In the past several months, authorities have been intensifying anti-illegal drugs operations against pushers, small-time and big-time in consonance with government’s campaign to stop the proliferation of illegal drugs.

Meanwhile, Santos highlighted the need for strong advocacies that must be disseminated for public consumption, especially among the youth who are very curious about it, explained Santos.

Santos reiterated the need for stronger partnerships and resource sharing among all stakeholders in the city, the local government, the barangay officials, civil society groups, schools, religious groups, and other government agencies. “We need to join together and plan out our advocacy strategies to inform the public, especially the youth on the dangers of drugs, before they even try it.”

Drugs destroy lives,” he said. (FPG/DIS/PIA-Zamboanga City)