A very dan­ger­ous trend


THE re­cent pro­nounce­ment by Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte that the float­ing co­caine pack­ages dis­cov­ered and seized by au­thor­i­ties along the coun­try’s coast­lines rep­re­sent an at­tempt by al­leged Colom­bian drug car­tels to in­tro­duce their il­le­gal drug op­er­a­tions here, is a very alarm­ing and dan­ger­ous de­vel­op­ment in the con­tin­u­ing war against drugs.

If what the Pres­i­dent has said is true then the cam­paign by the govern­ment to erad­i­cate il­le­gal drugs has spi­raled into a very per­ilous level and a dan­ger­ous trend where an­other in­ter­na­tional drug car­tel, apart from the Chi­nese drug syn­di­cates al­ready op­er­at­ing here, is try­ing to in­tro­duce an­other high end type of drug called “co­caine.”

Now if the il­le­gal drug “shabu” (metham­phetamine hy­drochlo­ride) is dubbed as the “poor man’s co­caine” the co­caine it­self might also be called as the “rich man’s shabu” since this is usu­ally the party drug or go to drug of the well to do and the rich.

Co­caine as his­tory will tell us has been around far longer than shabu and has been con­sid­ered for many years as the drug of choice of jet­set­ters and the more af­flu­ent party go­ers who seek that ex­tra en­ergy well into the early morn­ing hours or even un­til the next day.

The rea­son why co­caine has not re­ally gained a foothold in the coun­try or pop­u­lar­ity among the masses is be­cause of its steep cost when com­pared to shabu or other types of il­le­gal drugs. Shabu quickly gained pop­u­lar­ity be­cause of its low price and its eu­phoric ef­fect which is sim­i­lar to that of co­caine. Of course, now that shabu has been es­pe­cially tar­geted by the govern­ment in its war against drugs the white crys­talline sub­stance has sky­rock­eted in price and re­sulted in the deaths of thou­sands of drug users and drug push­ers.

With this de­vel­op­ment the Columbian drug car­tels may well be only too ea­ger to take ad­van­tage of the sit­u­a­tion and pro­mote their own kind of il­le­gal drug prod­uct as an al­ter­na­tive to shabu. Ob­vi­ously, co­caine is cost pro­hib­i­tive at the mo­ment but given the cre­ativ­ity of these drug car­tels who knows if they can find a way to lower their price if only to at­tract the mid-level in­come group of drug users, or even those liv­ing near the poverty just to es­tab­lish a foothold in the il­le­gal drug mar­ket in the coun­try.

This is in­deed a very dan­ger­ous trend that if left unchecked by the govern­ment can lead to more dif­fi­cul­ties in the con­tin­u­ing war on drugs.

There is re­ally no easy way to pre­vent the en­try of float­ing co­caine pack­ages given the long and por­ous coast­line bor­ders of the Philip­pine ar­chi­pel­ago. But per­haps a step in the right di­rec­tion as sug­gested, to pre­vent fur­ther at­tempts at in­tru­sion by these for­eign drug syn­di­cates us­ing the coun­try’s long coast­lines is closer co­op­er­a­tion and col­lab­o­ra­tion with civil­ians and barangay of­fi­cials liv­ing along these ar­eas cou­pled with ready re­ward money to be given once val­i­dated in­for­ma­tion re­sults in either seizure of il­le­gal drugs or cap­ture and arrest of mem­bers of il­le­gal drug syn­di­cat es.

What­ever mea­sure can be thought up by the govern­ment it must be im­ple­mented soon if it hopes to pre­vent the fur­ther pro­lif­er­a­tion of float­ing co­caine pack­ages in the coun­try.

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