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Robredo should Know that it takes Discipline to Decriminalize Drug Use in PI

drug use

welcome By: Elena Grace Flores

Leni Robredo suggested recently in the University of the Philippines in Los Baños that the Philippines should try Portugal drug use decriminalization. She added that the small country made a radical decision of decriminalizing drug use in 2001. It leads to lower drug-related deaths and declines in drug abuse cases. However, she forgot to take into consideration that discipline is a problem in her own country. How can the government impose responsible drug use when there are more than 100 million citizens compared to Portugals more than 10 million population only?

Youtube video by; Elena Grace Flores
[VIDEO]: Learn from the pros and cons of the Portugal Drug Decriminalization Debate

Follow Best Practices

Robredo said that the government should study the best practices of Portugal that made it successful in their drug use decriminalization. She, however, failed to make a quick research on the measures implemented there – that’s why she cannot elaborate.

Small Population and Drug Use is Cyclical

In Portugal, the population is only around 10.35 million people only. The drug use is also cyclical – meaning few people are users and just recurring. It cannot be compared in the Philippines when most families have at least one drug dependent in each unit. Drug abuse is rampant especially in the marginalized poor areas where illegal drugs are retailed to make them very affordable.

Changes during Decriminalization of Drug Use

Decriminalization has straightforward benefits over complete prohibition. First, law-abiding citizens will not be criminalized for possessing illegal drugs. Second, drug addicts are likely to seek professional help when the government treats addiction as a medical concern than a criminal problem. Third, the police can have more resources to address real crimes. This enables them to provide subsidies for drug treatment programs. Fourth, drug addicts stay away from dangerous synthetic drug substitutes and opt for natural illegal drugs like marijuana and cocaine instead which are less harmful. Fifth, fewer cases of diseases such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis can spread out. Sixth, there are fewer fierce-looking junkies around poor communities. Generally, decriminalization must decrease the number of prisoners, drug-related deaths, and more people living “normal” lives. Know why this is hard to attain in the Philippines.

Measures are not Applicable in the Philippines at this Time

While it is true that drug abuse and addiction are medical and psychological problems that should be solved by the individual with professionals help and family support, the measures done in Portugal can’t be easily implemented in the Philippines. Aside from having ten times the number of population in Portugal, to instill discipline is a challenge. It’s only in the country that a street sign says; “it’s prohibited to cross here because you can die” and yet, many still die from crossing the same street. Policies can be conflicted as well as lawmakers defend their party’s interest than their own conscience. Another thing is the culture when speaking to a psychiatrist is some kind of a bizarre thing – because many Filipinos believe that only crazy people need them. Once the government can do some changes in the mindsets of the people, then maybe but not yet now.