CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 8 December 2018

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The destructive trade in dangerous drugs

Young people by the thousands are dropping dead after stuffing chemicals into their bodies to forget their problems or just to get an exciting high to overcome their inhibitions.

A few weeks ago at an open air dance concert in Manila, another five people collapsed on the dancefloor and died, either on the spot or later in hospital from a presumed drug overdose.

Ecstasy and a powerful variety of marijuana and crystal meth are easily available. These young people would seem to have been victims of the drug culture. What a tragic loss of young lives, as well as pain and suffering for their family and friends.

They could be your children or grandchildren, nephews or nieces—all are targets of drug pushers and dealers. We cannot stand idly by wringing our hands helplessly.

We must act and campaign for a drug-free society, not a society that tolerates, ignores, or as some northern hemisphere countries do, legalises dangerous drugs.

Murdering drug pushers or denouncing them without evidence or trial, or accusing them before television cameras is wrong. It is a violation of their rights. In that system anyone can accuse you or me and we could be shot without any due process.

Any person accused is entitled by law to due process and a fair trial.

Vigilante killing of suspects without a trial is not a solution, it is murder. More pushers, drug lords and dealers will take their place, and who would they be?

If it is politicians with hit squads who kill suspects, who are no saints, they are the most likely candidates to take over the businesses. It would reinforce their power forever.

Goodbye democracy, here come the goons.

We must put a high value on our lives, the health of our children and all our citizens.

We must teach our children by good example to be drug and alcohol-free, and to eat healthy food to have a healthy, productive meaningful life.

Drug users did not have these values and they are victims. They need recovery, therapy and rehabilitation.

Young people must be taught to be smart, knowledgeable and committed to a life of drug-free dignity. When we end the demand, then we end the supply.

This can be done by the inspiring words and deeds of responsible youth, parents, teachers and national leaders.

They must give moral leadership and set a good example of a disciplined drug, alcohol and vice-free life.

Public campaigning, government legislative action and public education has driven back the smoking scourge—now it is hip to be tobacco free. That is an example of success and a non-violent solution.

Knowledge is power and we have to empower others and ourselves with the truth in order to oppose drug use and make it unacceptable in society.

Drug abuse can be defeated. It must be prevented from being legalised, as is happening in some places in the United States of America and Europe.

The sex trade and human trafficking is drug driven. Victims are lured, made dependent or forcibly addicted in order to subdue and control them.

Before they are abducted and trafficked, they are frequently tranquilised with drugs to make them docile and submissive.

Then they are sold into sex slavery to customers who are often high on drugs, especially marijuana with high levels of THC.

The government must stop issuing operating permits and licences to the brothels and bars.

Their campaign to stop the legalisation of drugs is knowledge-based and backed by cutting edge scientific research and important findings. It is pushed by the great unsung and often criticised heroes of our time.

The decades-long campaigner, Grainne Kenny, the honorary president of Europe Against Drugs and the 1989 Irish Laureate of Women of Europe Award for her campaign to save young people from drug use, has this to say to those working to decriminalise cannabis use.

“Decriminalisation will bring the drug problem out of the scope of penal law. Law enforcement will no longer be provided for the export, import, manufacture, distribution, sale, publicity, possession and use of drugs that are up till now controlled within the scope of international conventions.

“The consequences are that society will have no law or lever to use to direct drug addicts towards help and treatment. Neither does society have means to suppress trafficking.”

Cannabis and other drugs of abuse, including alcohol, have been the cause of a huge rise in broken homes, abandoned children and many deaths on the road in recent years, as the percentage of THC chemical is now so high and powerful in common drugs.

Akira Miroshima, an authority on cytogenetic and formerly of Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, said, “... in my 20 years of research on human cells, I have never found any other drug, including heroin, which comes close to the DNA damage caused by marijuana.”

Since the damage done to children’s DNA can be demonstrated, any government that legalises cannabis, or marijuana, and the companies that sell it could be liable for huge damage claims running into the billions of dollars, as has happened with other legalised drugs that caused harm.

It is our duty to protect our children of this generation and of the next by preventing harm and hurt. 

We can do this by calling drug use the social menace and pariah in society that it is and teaching our children to stand against it and resist peer pressure to use it.

 

• Father Shay Cullen 
www.preda.org