THINK ON THESE by Henrylito D. Tacio

If he had his way, Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief General Oscar Albayalde wants lethal injection for drug traffickers. Although he said he still would follow what the law states when it comes to death penalty that will be meted to those criminals involved in illegal drugs and other heinous crimes.

“That depends on what the law will say,” Albayalde was quoted as saying in a television interview. “We are civilized people here so probably lethal injection would suffice.”

The PNP head strongly supports President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s war against illegal drugs. “I don’t like people involved in drugs,” said Duterte when he was still the mayor of Davao City. “I don’t care if they are soldiers or policemen. I tell them that drug dealers and criminals in my city have only two destinations – the jail or the funeral parlors.”

The war on drugs is for real. Statistics gathered by the PNP, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and Bureau of Customs (BOC) painted a haunting picture.

From July 1, 2016 to January 17, 2018, about 81,919 anti-drug operations were conducted from which 119,361 personalities were arrested. Some 3,987 drug personalities died in these anti-drug operations.

Some of those arrested were government workers themselves. PDEA reported that in the span of time, 213 government employees, 189 elected officials and 44 uniformed personnel were arrested in anti-drug operations.

Drug addiction is a social problem that begets a host of other social problems – smuggling, prostitution, killing, gunrunning. This columnist has no current data but a Narcotics Command report in 1996 showed that illegal drugs cause a rape to happen every 19 hours, the loss of 22 lives daily through murder and homicide; and the commission of 50 crimes against property each day.

“Majority of crimes which occur are basically influenced by drug addiction,” said the late Senator Ernesto F. Herrera, who was then the chairman of the National Citizens Drug Watch Movement.

A drug is defined as “any substance intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, relief, treatment or prevention of disease or intended to affect the structure or function of the body.” A simpler but workable definition of a drug is “any chemical substance that affects the body and its processes.”

“By law, drugs are divided into two categories: prescription drugs and non-prescription drugs,” explains The Merck Manual of Medical Information.

“Prescription drugs – those considered safe for use only under medical supervision – may be dispensed only with a prescription from a licensed professional with governmental privileges to prescribe.”

Non-prescription drugs, on the other hand, are those considered safe for use without any medical supervision (like aspirin, for instance). Oftentimes, these drugs are sold over-the counter.

To some people, the word “drug” means a substance that alters the brain’s function in ways considered pleasurable – a mind-altering substance. These are what the Dangerous Drug Board (DDB) as “dangerous drugs” or “illegal drugs.”

Drug abuse exists when a person continually uses a drug other than its intended purpose,” the DDB explains in its website. “This continued use can lead to drug dependence, a state of physical and psychological dependence or both on a dangerous drug.”

Can this drug menace be curtailed? Some experts believe it can be done – if only parents will do something about it. Charity, after all, begins at home. In the United States, William Bennett – a former drug czar – said that parents can do some things to prevent children from ever experimenting with drugs.

Bennett, who was quoted by Zig Ziglar in his book, Something to Smile About, said that children who have good lines of communication with their parents, who attend church regularly and engage in extracurricular activities (sports, band, debating team, etc.), seldom try drugs.

“I encourage parents to keep their children busy and to remind them that they are moral and spiritual beings,” Bennett said. “Parents have to tell them that drug abuse is a degradation of character and the spirit, something not worthy of them.”

Some people say that the root cause of drug addiction is poverty. But I have seen a lot of poor families who are never involved in drugs. It is something to do with how responsible the parents are towards their children.

Dr. Forest Tennant, a drug authority mentioned in Ziglar’s book, said that an order in a person’s life is most helpful. He recommends structure and a schedule centered on positive activities for young people. These activities include eating meals with the family, having regular time to go to bed and to get up, and setting aside a definite time to study.

There is a saying that goes, “Practice what I say not what I do.” This won’t help children. Dr. Tennant told parents: “If you experiment with drugs, chances are much higher that your children with experiment with drugs and perhaps become addicts.”

According to Dr. Tennant, if the children see their parents drinking beer or cocktails, for instance, as far as the children are concerned, they will think otherwise. “The children will view that as desirable, and the concept of drug use becomes acceptable to them,” he said.

Dr. Tennant said that tobacco and alcohol are “invariably the entrance drugs to illegal drugs.” There was this issue of U.S. News and World Report which reinforced the statement of the doctor. It said that “there is seldom, if ever, a case of a person getting involved in illegal drugs who did not start with tobacco and/or alcohol.”