Hart’s and Cal­la­mard’s pre­pos­ter­ous claims on drugs

ATTY. RUPHIL F. BAÑOC

Cebu Daily News - - OPIN­ION - Ruphil_stp@ya­hoo.com

If I were one of those who per­son­ally heard the claim of African-Amer­i­can Pro­fes­sor Carl Hart as cited by United Na­tions Spe­cial Rap­por­teur Agnes Cal­la­mard that there is no ev­i­dence that shabu leads to vi­o­lence and brain dam­age, I would have fallen from my seat. Add to that the star­tling irony that she was in­vited as a speaker at the sup­pos­edly seat of in­tel­lec­tu­al­ism in the coun­try, the Univer­sity of the Philip­pines (UP).

In­side an academe, whether in UP or not, the ba­sic de­mand is for one who makes a claim to at least show the data as be­ing cred­i­ble. Pas­sion alone can­not stand the light of in­quiry. The school is not called the mar­ket­place of ideas for noth­ing.

It was a very shock­ing claim, and it in­sulted the in­tel­li­gence of the Filipino peo­ple. It was used by Cal­la­mard to con­vey and sup­port her mes­sage be­fore her au­di­ence at the Univer­sity of the Philip­pines.

Cal­la­mard, a critic of Duterte’s war on drugs, was in­vited by the lo­cal hu­man rights groups and Free Le­gal As­sis­tance Group to speak be­fore an au­di­ence gath­ered at UP last, last week. Her back­ground and cred­i­bil­ity as UN rap­por­teur was in ad­vance well hyped, ap­par­ently cal­cu­lated at pro­duc­ing an ef­fect of con­di­tion­ing the mind of the peo­ple into be­liev­ing her mes­sage to at­tack the Philip­pine pres­i­dent.

Un­for­tu­nately for them, how­ever, the plan back­fired. The sub­stance of Cal­la­mard’s speech or at­tack against Pres­i­dent Duterte and her tweet on so­cial me­dia quot­ing Pro­fes­sor Hart that shabu can­not cause dam­age to the per­son’s brain nat­u­rally and spon­ta­neously re­sulted in the de­struc­tion of any cred­i­bil­ity left in her per­son, if she had any. Even some anti-Duterte in­di­vid­u­als could only shake their heads in dis­be­lief.

I am in­clined to be­lieve that those who in­vited Cal­la­mard to speak were un­aware of what was com­ing — the shock­ing and un­be­liev­able con­tent of her speech and the suc­ceed­ing so­cial me­dia tweets. Maybe, by this time, they have al­ready re­gret­ted hav­ing her as speaker. What a dis­grace!

Call­mard’s and Hart’s claim to­tally run counter to the find­ings of med­i­cal ex­perts and even those ob­served by or­di­nary peo­ple about the huge dam­ag­ing ef­fect of shabu on the per­son’s brain and the domino ef­fect it has on the life of Philip­pine so­ci­ety.

Or­di­nary peo­ple ob­serve the ef­fect of shabu on the brain of the users. In fact, count­less in­ci­dents like theft, rob­bery, rapes of ba­bies, mur­ders of sib­lings, et cetera, are trace­able to the use of il­le­gal drugs. A lot of crimes, the po­lice would tell us, are drug re­lated.

To sat­isfy my ra­dio lis­ten­ers over dyHP RMN Cebu, I called up Dr. Rene Obra, a US-trained med­i­cal prac­ti­tioner and the chief of VSSMC Cen­ter for Be­hav­ioral Sci­ences. He dis­cussed the huge dam­age of shabu on the brain. In fact, when I told him about the claim of Pro­fes­sor Hart, he could not stop him­self from say­ing that the said per­son should be brought to his clinic.

With Hart’s and Call­mard’s claim about shabu, I can now per­fectly un­der­stand why they are very fierce crit­ics of Duterte’s way of solv­ing the drug prob­lems in the Philip­pines be­cause in the first place they don’t even con­sider shabu as a prob­lem be­cause they don’t be­lieve it dam­ages a per­son’s brain.

It is so nat­u­ral that there is a col­li­sion of ideas in solv­ing the drug prob­lem be­cause while Duterte, the med­i­cal ex­perts and or­di­nary peo­ple see the re­al­ity of the huge dam­age of shabu on one hand, Cal­la­mard and Hart see and be­lieve other­wise.

I hope that the crit­ics of Pres­i­dent Duterte will not be too blind or too deaf that they would be­lieve in a claim which finds no sup­port in sci­ence and logic. Ob­ses­sion blinds a per­son and makes him be­lieve in a bi­ased speech and claim hook, line and sinker. Thank­fully, no one — or I have yet to hear one — buys the pre­pos­ter­ous claim.

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