A question of connection
What is saddening about the weekend report on the boy Loloy and his drug involvement is that others of his age share his reality though researchers alerted Filipinos to juvenile drug dependency years ago.
Within the last couple of years, Cebu police have rounded up at least 4,000 underage persons like Loloy who face substance abuse problems.
This points to our sinful neglect in rearing our children.
In 2001, researchers Minja Kim Choe and Corazon Raymundo already sounded the alarm on smoking, drinking and drug use among Filipino minors.
They found that “indicators of ‘connectedness’ such as strong religiosity, being in school, living in parental home, and being born in rural areas protect adolescents and youths from initiating risk-taking behavior.”
They also found that “having initiated one risk-taking often leads to additional risk-taking. Drinking experience increases the initiation of smoking and the smoking experience the initiation of drug-use to a large extent.”
These and their other findings corroborated prior ones from as far back as 1991.
Nothing, therefore, mystifies as to why Loloy and others like him end up as drug users, peddlers or couriers, aside from circumstances like the continued smuggling of shabu into the country.
(Lest our memories fail us, another P22.5 billion of crystal meth remains missing after authorities seized a shipment worth P6.4 billion last year).
Coming from a law enforcer, Chief Insp. Marylou Cuizon’s exhortation for parents to look after their children and thereby protect them from illegal narcotics is a breath of fresh air.
Her critique of fathers and mothers in absentia behind street children who are most vulnerable to the lure of drug syndicates should prompt concerned sectors to work for the renewal of our parenting and educational culture.
Behind more than 4,000 children ensnared by illegal drug networks are more than 8,000 fathers and mothers who through their own fault and the omissions of supposed partners have been remiss in fulfilling their parental duties.
As Choe and Raymundo suggested, these partners include clergy and religious as well as teachers and school administrators.
They should teach and form responsible parents and reach out to unschooled children.
Partners also include city and municipal planners.
They should take courage and transform our dark, filthy spaces so that they unequivocally register intolerance to illegal drug activity and promotion of healthy family and social life.
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