Children as suspected drug users

By: Editorial June 25,2018 - 10:50 PM

While nearly anything is possible in this world, we have to ask the reading public if they had ever heard or learned of any confirmed case of 10-year-old children using drugs, let alone a Grade 4 student who tested positive for drug use.

We ask this because of a program by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) to conduct drug tests on 10-year-old children and above as part of its sweeping campaign against illegal drugs.

PDEA chief Aaron Aquino said they wanted to expand the mandatory drug tests to include 10-year-olds after they received reports that children were also found to be using drugs.

While that isn’t entirely out of the realm of possibility — we have seen streetchildren addicted to using solvent to ease their hunger pangs and in the process dull their senses and made them susceptible to violent, criminal behavior — 10-year-olds using shabu, cocaine or even marijuana is something new entirely and out of the ordinary, even hard to believe.

What makes the mandatory drug tests on 10-year-old children even more problematic is the cost.

The Department of Education (DepEd) which voiced serious reservations on the expanded mandatory drug tests including children, said the agency would need to spend at least P2 billion for the initiative.

That includes those upwards of Grade 4 to Grade 12 which the DepEd pegged at 14 million students nationwide. The expanded PDEA drug testing didn’t specify how many times these children and youths will undergo such examinations to prove that they are clean.

And who will pay for those tests which cost P200 per person?

Given that PDEA doesn’t even have enough personnel and funds to do their job well and the government finds it difficult enough to fund free education to college students, should it expect the parents to pay for these tests on top of the tuition and other expenses?

DepEd reminded PDEA anew of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 which confines drug tests for secondary and tertiary students only as well as faculty.

Whether Mr. Aquino is aware of this or not, or he simply wants to impress his boss is something that he should be required to explain fully to the public who will pay for the costs of this PDEA initiative.

Senators Aquilino Pimentel III and Francis Pangilinan also raised the very real possibility that the mandatory drug tests could lead to corruption with drug testing centers benefiting from the program.

Isn’t an education campaign in schools along with parental and church guidance sufficient to warn schoolchildren of the evils of drug abuse?

The PDEA doesn’t think so.

Subscribe to our regional newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.
Read Next

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of Cebudailynews. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

TAGS: children, drug users, suspected

Subscribe to our regional newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and
acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.