Drugs, showbiz & wow!

Eddie Ilarde - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Drugs have been discovered by dedicated people — doctors and scientists — searching for effective remedy for diseases afflicting humans. When administered properly, drugs cure human ailments, save lives but sadly, people also find them potent for something else: As palliatives to boredom and monotony and a means to escape and “to blunt stress, relieve emotional problems, personal failures and frustration;” many young people abuse drugs for “highs” and “kicks” sometimes to defy the status quo or just to imitate those who are perceived to be “in.” Money, guns and drugs, therefore, are neutral, depending upon how we want them to be: Good or evil.

According to reliable information, there are millions of drug addicts — now called “drug personalities” — in this country: Common people, businessmen, politicians, even the religious and yes, showbiz personalities. Celebrities into it seek refuge from outright condemnation in what psychologists and psychiatrists say: That artists live in a world of severe stress, emotional and mental pressure and tense nerves bordering on neurosis; and to avoid serious affliction, they resort to alcohol and drugs as means of escape. Sadly, this practice goes awry to their detriment. Drug addiction among artists and entertainers was prevalent in Hollywood many decades before we even heard about drugs such as cocaine, heroin and other expensive drugs that have become status symbols, thanks to Hollywood celebrities.

Drug abuse leads to addiction which simply means “devoting or giving oneself habitually or compulsively to something,” drugs and other addictive items in this case. There are other addictions like addiction to food (in the world of the obese and gluttons), money (corrupt and greedy), sex (perverts and maniacs), etc. The most harmful and pernicious is drug addiction. Pres. Rody Duterte declared it so succinctly recently when he admonished that “drugs ruin not only yourselves but our country as well.” That is why his ways of battling this menace, extreme as they are, have attracted the support of many other countries in the world. Despite its prevalence, not a few are unaware of the harmful drugs to be avoided in the realm of narcotics, amphetamines, barbiturates, hallucinogens and others.

Here are some we have to be aware of: Heroin (diacetylmorphine) first manufactured by a big drug company in 1898 as “treatment of tuberculosis and remedy for morphine addiction. Heroin comes from the opium poppy whose sap is made into morphine where heroin comes from, purified through “chemical and mechanical means.” Cocaine or Crack Cocaine is made from the alkaloid of the coca plant which grows in cooler and higher climates. “Cocaine is synthesized from coca leaves mixed with adulterant substances to make it into street-level cocaine which can be injected, snorted or smoked.” Let’s ask Coca-Cola where its “coca” came from. Young people on the road to addiction call cocaine “sosyal” the reason being that it is   expensive and abused mostly by rich personalities in society — in the business world, in entertainment, politics and the arts.

Crystal Meth (d-methamphetamine) which, we are told, is the most popular and notorious shabu (unknown to the former president of Colombia) which has ruined the life of many in this country. This is a stimulant drug “commonly manufactured in illegal, hidden laboratories mixing various forms of amphetamine or derivatives to boost potency such as the common pills for cold remedies.” Shabu is a common street name. “In Hong Kong, this means Street Meth also popular in Indonesia and in other Asian countries.” Other common names are “ice” because it looks like shards of glass or ice. “It can be dissolved in water or alcohol and can be taken orally, snorted, by needle injection or by smoking (the most common way to do it). It causes euphoria, increased awareness and physical capabilities and decreased appetite. The result of such addiction causes severe physiological effects, psychotic behavior, hallucination, strokes and heart attacks.” The recipe in cooking this drug also includes “battery acid, drain cleaner, lantern fuel and anti-freeze used in auto radiators during winter.”

Barbiturates. Commonly called “downs” being the basis of sleeping pills and used to relieve tension and anxiety. According to Collier’s “the most frequently abused are the short-acting Nembutal and Seconal. Barbiturates are synthetic drugs used in medicine to depress the central nervous system for sedation, sedatives, hypnotics or as part of anesthesia; barbiturates account for many auto accidents, suicides and accidental deaths, especially if mixed with alcohol.” Since 1881, around 2,500 types of barbiturates have been synthesized from “barbital the first pharmacologically active form but only around 50 of these agents have ever been used in medicine.”

There are other drugs in circulation but not abused as much as the above we have mentioned; these are Benzodiazephine, Standard Amphetamines or Pure or Mixed Salts, Buprenorphine, Marijuana, Hallucenogens and other narcotics. The most talked-about drug today, however, is Fentanyl recently introduced to the public through the political grapevine or rumor mill by “DU30 antagonists” as the “Duterte pain reliever.” Fentanyl “is an opioid analgesic or painkiller used to treat severe pain found in post surgery cases and chronic cases.” It is said that this drug is currently a Schedule II drug, a rank away from being completely illegal as it has a high chance of being abused. We are told that, “Fentanyl is similar to morphine but 100 times stronger.” It is sold in the streets abroad — and here (?) — under such names as “Apache, China Girl, China White, Good Fellas, TNT, Cash, etc. Researcher Elliot Luby says that, “Individuals are not aware that they are engaging in drug abuse when they take excessive amount of aspirin, cough syrup or tension relievers; the abuse of any medicine whether or not prescription is required, can be dangerous.”

It is gratifying to know that in this country, there is currently a serious government effort to set up rehabilitation centers for the millions of drug addicts. Thanks to government failure in the past to get rid of drug lords and pushers, this national malady has grown to alarming proportion. Public support in battling this menace is needed, even with a strong president on the warpath against it, for the good of our nation.

Eating that “forbidden fruit of knowledge” started it all. Now, millions on Earth know and are into it. We’re almost tempted to say “pu----i--” But we’ll just say it gently: “Anak ng Ppp..pating!” Wow!

(Eddie Ilarde is a former senator, freelance writer, independent radio-TV host and producer. He is also Lifetime Achievement awardee for Radio-TV and founder-president of Maharlika Foundation for National Transformation and chair-president of Golden Eagles Society for Senior Citizens. He may be reached through P.O. Box 107 Makati City, Philippines.)


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