PRESIDENT Duterte has every reason to be angry at his foreign critics including those from the United Nations and international human rights watchdogs who have been blasting him for claiming that the use of shabu affects a person’s brain and could induce its users to harm even their loved ones.
Last Tuesday, he presented anew to PNP and AFP generals a United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime or UNDOC reading material about drugs. The UNDOC particularly said long-term use of stimulants including the designer drug called Ecstasy ‘can damage certain parts of the brain, resulting in serious depression and memory loss.’ During the same occasion, I was told that the President interrupted PNP’s no. 2 man, Deputy Director General Ramon Apolinario from his speech and gave hints that he would be the next PNP chief after Gen. Ronald ‘Bato’ dela Rosa.
I was informed that police and military generals presented at the Palace room cheered when the President broke the news on Apolinario of PMA ‘Sandiwa’ Class of 1985. But the question is who is the ‘Guwapo’ (handsome) he said will replace Apolinario. There are many handsome police generals and I think they are now making their best effort to remain good-looking in the eyes of the President and the public.
Back to the main issue, the UNDOC report said that: “In the short term, ecstasy can make the body ignore distress signals such as dehydration, dizziness and exhaustion and it can interfere with the body’s ability to regulate temperature.’
“Furthermore, ecstasy can severely damage organs such as the liver and the kidneys. Use can lead to convulsions and severe hallucinations.” “Tablets or pills that are sold as ‘ecstasy’ may contain other potentially dangerous substances which can vary widely in strength and effects,” the UNDOC said.
The horrifying UNDOC report also said that LSD, a semi-synthetic drug derived from lysergic acid and commonly known as acid alters users’ state of consciousness and produces different kind of hallucinations. LSD which is usually swallowed is comparable to shabu, of which short-term use produces delusions and distorted perceptions.
The UNDOC says that use of these drugs may result in the following: “users experience severe terrifying thought and feelings such as fear of losing control, fear of insanity and death and despair.” “The physical effects are small compared to the psychological and emotional effects. They include dilated pupils, increased heart rate and blood pressure, loss of appetite, sleeplessness, dry mouth and tremors.”
In short, the UNDOC is confirming what the President has been saying long before the use of dangerous drugs such as shabu and ecstasy can damage a person’s brain. This is the reason why we have been regularly hearing reports of shabu addicts who have killed their babies, their fathers and mothers or siblings and later saying they did it because the ‘devil has told me to do it and people are out to kill me.’
This is also the very same reason why we have countless stories of shabu users who have raped and killed even infants or young schoolgirls, their mothers, sisters and even their grandmothers or murdered a relative before torching his house. All of these are indications that frequent use of shabu and other drugs have greatly affected the brains of the users and led them to commit those heinous crimes.
A few months ago, I wrote that President Duterte was furious as he railed against claims that there was no evidence that the use of methamphetamine, or shabu, causes brain damage. Early this year, he insisted that shabu would adversely affect a person’s brain and could induce its users to harm even their loved ones. He is also 100 percent right when he lashed at foreign observers who have described shabu as a harmless chemical, I said then.
The former Davao City mayor said he based his statement from an American study. “As a matter of fact, it’s an American forensic study that it shrinks the brain of a person. That’s not ours,” he said. Add to that interesting news from Reuters which bared that repeated use of shabu increases the risk of deadly strokes.
I quoted the report from Reuters which incidentally has written many stories critical of President Duterte’s war on drugs. Here it goes: “Young adults who use the stimulant methamphetamine, sometimes called “speed,” “ice,” or “meth,” may have an increased risk of strokes, a recent study suggests. Previous research in animals and humans has tied meth abuse to a variety of potentially fatal cardiovascular problems including heart failure, as well as damage to blood vessels in the brain, stroke, high blood pressure and irregular heartbeat.
“Methamphetamine users and their communities should be aware that stroke can occur in young people within hours or days of use, and also as a long-term consequence,” said lead study author Dr. Julia Lappin of the University of New South Wales in Australia. The report said experts reviewed reports of strokes associated with meth and found that most are what’s known as hemorrhagic strokes, a less common type that is caused by a ruptured blood vessel in the brain.
Eighty percent of strokes associated with the use of methamphetamine were hemorrhagic strokes. Methamphetamine use can also make blood vessel walls weak and more prone to rupture.
The results suggest that as methamphetamine use becomes more common worldwide, it will also become a growing cause of stroke in young adults, said Dr. Stephan Schurer of the University of Leipzig in Germany.
That was the whole Reuters’ story, released months after Agnes Callamard, the United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings told a forum in Manila that there was no evidence that shabu shrinks a person’s brain, citing a study of an expert, neuroscientist Carl Hart.
As far as I can remember, the President did not believe the statement that shabu had no effect on the brain and described it as “bullshit.” “That is why I will not talk to them because my experience until now and 23 years ago when I became the Mayor of Davao City was always a lot of violence and killing because of shabu,” he said.
He also said that if shabu was not harmful and good for Filipinos, he would have made the drug readily available. Duterte had cited the harmful effects of shabu as a reason for his intense crackdown on the illegal drug trade. He had said many of the drug users become dysfunctional, some of them even beyond redemption. In essence, some UN officials are disagreeing with official findings made by their fellows just to hit Duterte.