Duterte’s war cannot wipe out drugs — expert

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Luz Querubin is the associate dean of the Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health. Photo by Ma. Alyssa Adrienne T. Samonte

THE DUTERTE administration’s bloody campaign against the illegal drug trade cannot eliminate the consumption and retail of narcotics, according to an expert.

John Collins, head of the International Drug Policy Project at London School of Economics, said drug dependents won’t find a substitute for drugs because they are “renewable” substances.

“[President Rodrigo Duterte] targets to wipe out the market. You cannot create a drug-free world. You cannot eradicate drugs [because] it’s a renewable commodity. They either grow on ground or are made in a laboratory,” Collins said via Skype in a forum at the Ateneo de Manila University.

Regina Hechanova, who teaches psychology at the Ateneo, said lack of family orientation, prevention in schools and rehabilitation facilities have led to long-term drug use.

“Drug use is a chronic problem which tells us that there is a need for specific interventions…for continuing care because this is something that people would live with,” Hechanova said.

Luz Querubin, associate dean of the Ateneo School of Medicine and Public Health, said drug abuse is not only a criminal problem.

“It is actually a socioeconomic, psychological and a biological need all rolled into one,” she said.

Querubin also said drug testing for students in universities is an insufficient measure to stop illegal drug use among students.

“[Drug testing] will deter but will not stop illegal drug usage among students. There is an aspect of fear that if you get caught, it becomes a discipline problem,” she said.

Young people are more prone to drug abuse, she noted.

“Students will still try drugs, because of the fact that they are [from the age group of] 15 to 19 years old,” Querubin told the Varsitarian.

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