The #Philippines Drug War is a Phoney

Are the the alleged PNP generals linked to drug cartels really the problem?
Are the pictures of alleged drug users and drug peddlers showing up en masse the measure of success?

Are the summary executions of drug peddlers really the solution?

The phenomenon of government officials being linked to drug cartels is not new. The linkages between government employees and drug cartels is not limited to generals and also includes mayors, governors, and lawmakers. This phenomenon was also observed during the 1912 alcohol prohibition era.

Drugs are also smuggled into prisons and it is not uncommon that prison inmates test positive for drugs, along side with the prison guards. Here’s where it gets better – shabu or crystal meth is being manufactured inside the prison. For example, a chemist who was imprisoned for making crystal meth is now making the substance inside a jail somewhere in Mindanao. This cannot continue without the cooperation of jail officials and the LGUs for that matter.

Pictures of alleged drug users and peddlers surrendering en masse are not only suspect, but is also a violation of the right against self incrimination. For all we know, these alleged people are another version of the hakot crowd. Granting that these people used or sold drugs – have they killed, stole property, or physically assaulted other people? Clearly, the use and sale of drugs is an act which involves the voluntary consent of two adults. No one forced them into it, unlike taxation where the state forces you to part away with your income under the threat of penalties.

Does killing of drug peddlers solve the problem? Not really because all it does is create a minority group that appears to be against drugs, but in reality provides protection to drug peddlers who pay protection money or source their drugs from the minority group. In other words, these killings are indeed a turf war between organized crime groups – both of which have ties to the government.

On all counts, these do not eliminate the drug cartels nor do they eliminate crime or drug use for that matter for the simple reason that people will do what appeals to their unique preferences. Some like beer, some like wine, some like liquor – and some prefer marijuana, cocaine, crystal meth, heroin and the like.

Use of a substance does not necessarily turn someone into a sex fiend, a rapist, a murderer, or a thief. A weed user will just have the munchies, be humorous, introspective and then go to sleep. A meth user will just be awake, less prone to eating, talkative and then crashes when the shabu wears off.

What then is the solution?

History has already shown the solution. The 1912 alcohol prohibition era ultimately led to the legalization of alcohol. It is quite ironic that the number one supporter of the anti-drugs lobby are the alcohol makers.


Legalization of marijuana in Colorado has shown that drug use did not increase as the novelty wore off upon legalization. Second, drug cartels were forced out of Colorado as they no longer enjoyed the hefty profits caused by high prices brought by artificial scarcity. Legalization also led to a decrease in incarceration and the priority was focused on violent criminals – leading to decongestion of the courts.

drugs - us vs portugal

The experience of Portugal is quite significant when it decriminalized the use of drugs. As reported by the Washington Post:

Portugal decriminalized the use of all drugs in 2001. Weed, cocaine, heroin, you name it — Portugal decided to treat possession and use of small quantities of these drugs as a public health issue, not a criminal one. The drugs were still illegal, of course. But now getting caught with them meant a small fine and maybe a referral to a treatment program — not jail time and a criminal record.

Whenever we debate similar measures in the U.S. — marijuana decriminalization, for instance — many drug-policy makers predict dire consequences. “If you make any attractive commodity available at lower cost, you will have more users,” former Office of National Drug Control Policy deputy director Thomas McLellan once said of Portugal’s policies. Joseph Califano, founder of the Center for Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, once warned that decriminalization would “increase illegal drug availability and use among our children.”

But in Portugal, the numbers paint a different story. The prevalence of past-year and past-month drug use among young adults has fallen since 2001, according to statistics compiled by the Transform Drug Policy Foundation, which advocates on behalf of ending the war on drugs. Overall adult use is down slightly too. And new HIV cases among drug users are way down.

Now, numbers just released from the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction paint an even more vivid picture of life under decriminalization: drug overdose deaths in Portugal are the second-lowest in the European Union.


In other words, when we look at the reality of drug decriminalization – the rhetoric is way off the target!

Instead of lapping up the ruse of the state to paint or pahid the generals as criminals by association we need to look deeper at what drives the drug war. This is about state control of your life, your money, and your freedom – to do with it as a minority pleases.  This isn’t democracy – this is tyranny, theft and murder in broad daylight.

Psychedelics are illegal not because a loving government is concerned that you may jump out of a third story window. Psychedelics are illegal because they dissolve opinion structures and culturally laid down models of behaviour and information processing. They open you up to the possibility that everything you know is wrong – Terence McKenna



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