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2/14/13

Philippine Drug issue



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Does the Philippines have a drug issue?


It is almost impossible to sit and compare one country to the next.  I am from Sugar Land Texas and currently live in Cebu.  Yet the problems with drugs face both of these countries differently.  Poverty in the Philippines has led it down a path of abuse of drugs and alcohol.  Yet not the designer recreational drugs that plague the US.

The penalties for drug possession in the Philippines


   The law prescribes the death penalty for drug traffickers caught with at least 0.3 ounce of opium, morphine, heroin, cocaine, marijuana resin, or at least 17 ounces of marijuana. The Philippines has imposed a moratorium on the death penalty, but drug offenders are still punished harshly if caught – the minimum sentence is 12 years in prison for possession of .17 ounce of illegal drugs.
These laws are harsh and possession of drugs in the Philippines is not a joke.  The prisons are a far cry from the luxury accommodation the west provides for criminals.  Yet this keeps these types of drugs out of the system and prevent a vast majority of the drugs from the streets of the Philippines.

So what is plaguing the nation?


Rugby inhalant picture
The Philippines has a population explosion and there are children roaming the streets at all hours of the day and night.   They have a name for these kids "Rugby Boys" no that is not a sports accolade but a type of contact cement that is inhaled.  They inhale this contact cement for the instant high and for the properties to take away hunger.   The effects of this inhalant abuse can suffer brain damage, kidney and liver failure, sight and hearing loss, muscle weakness, leukemia  and death. Recently the Philippines has been attacking the issue with adding mustard oil to the contact cement to counter act the aroma of toluene which is the product that gives the high.  Yet even with the additives they have just moved on to other inhalants to  vice using Rugby.  Many paint products contain the same active ingredients and have the same long last effects on the youth of the Philippines.  It is a cheap high that you see to often on the streets of Cebu Philippines.
 The other problem that faces this nation is the use of alcohol.  A recent world health report said that 5 million Filipinos are regular drinkers.  That is out of country that has only 90 million people.  With the relative low cost of alcohol and spirits'   It provide an escape from the realities that surround the country.   The government has again stepped into try and curb this with a new sin tax.  This tax has raised the prices on tobacco and alcohol by about a third.  So only time will tell if this has a dramatic effect on the country. 

The Good and Bad 


The good is the Philippine Government has taken action to control this and the effects of these action will be seen in the future.  They have implemented plans and action recognizing the issue of drugs in the country as a whole.  This seems to take care of the result of the problem but fails to address the causes of the problem.  There still are little social welfare programs and programs to help the nearly 1.5 million street children in the Philippines.   These issues should be addressed and need immediate attention.  So yes steps in the right direction but more should and could be done to help the children of this country.  A country with all the potential in the world can not destroy its youth which are the future.