BULLETIN YOUTH ARTICLE: WHEN DEMONS STALK THE YOUTH

MANILA, OCTOBER 1, 2003 (BULLETIN) By Eleanor R. Yu - “Evil dwells in darkness for it hates light; God Himself is the light of the world and anyone who has been blinded by the dark should search for his light that they may come back to life.’’

Anyone who still believes Satan is someone who has horns and tail with horrible face must better look again at illegal drugs for here, he is sure to find the evil one.

Let us examine the following parallelism, So called “drug lords’’ need to operate in darkness. They cannot expose themselves for the freedom to live may had already been vanquished by demonic power and the temptations that illegal drugs blind them with - powers and money. Illegal drugs like shabu, marijuana, cocaine destroy the very core of every human being so that he becomes first, an enemy to himself, then to others.

Needless to say, one of the most damaging consequences of drug abuse is the rising cycle of violence it inspires - a son killing his own father, a father raping his own daughter, a husband mutilating the body of his own wife. Indeed, the most heinous crimes have been committed by those who were under the influence of drugs. Illegal drugs may also unsuspectingly lure people to use them to get through their fast pace lives:

Lionel, (not his real name), 23, works as editor in a progressive production house. He loves what he was doing but he developed a dependence on shabu to keep him awake for days no end when he worked overtime. Over the next few months, the substance accumulated in his system like a toxic time bomb. He was wired constantly, sleeping only a few minutes every night. At times an uncontrollable rage would boil up that made his life a total wreck. His family encouraged him to enter a rehabilitation program, and a new chapter in his nightmare began. For two weeks he stayed awake. A host of other withdrawal symptoms tortured him.

Today he had been off drugs for three years and does volunteer work for abused children in an orphanage. Those who get far like Lionel are the lucky ones because some may even die before they finish.

DAMAGING RESULTS

Recovery from drug addiction can be a slow, involving intensive treatment and painful withdrawal. It takes extraordinary will power and a lot of support from others to get over drug addiction. On average, one will try quitting four times before finally breaking free.

The initial phase of taking drugs may resort to mood elevation: euphoria, alertness and excitation. Routine tasks no longer seem monotonous. Appetite is suppressed, conversation comes easily and users feel energized, faster and stronger.

Some kinds may also create huge distractions, turning serious adults into inquisitive doltish kids. A lot of people are seduced because it feels good at first, then it becomes the most evil drug imaginable.

As the months pass, users begin to lose weight. As tolerance increases in this second phase, the victim must dramatically increase his intake to recapture the initial experience and avoid depression.

The third phase is characterized by paranoid thoughts, mistrust of people and heightened sensitivity to sound.

At this stage, the person is short-tempered and agitated. This is also when victims begin to hurt themselves and others.

In the final stage of drug abuse users, experience a total with reality. Delusions and paranoia dominate their thoughts; voices and hallucinations rule their lives.

This is also the reason why most drug addicts who had committed crimes seemed unaware of their actions upon interrogation. Once the use is detoxified, physical symptoms of addiction may disappear but delusional thoughts may remain with recovering users for the rest of their lives because brain chemistry may be permanently changed by prolonged drug abuse.

Usually, those who are easily swayed by their peers to try drugs comes from dysfunctional families. They may have low self-esteem or have very little self-respect and dignity that they go into drugs to boost their ego. Here are some warning signs to watch out for if you think a friend or loved one may need treatment for drug abuse.

- Severe weight loss, body sores, grayness of the skin, exaggerated physical movement, dilated pupils.

- Prolonged altercation in sleeping, eating or sexual habits; marked mood swings.

- Rapid, excited speech, decreased attention span, restlessness and anxiety.

- Increased isolation from friends, problems at work, financial difficulties for which unusual explanations are offered.

- Delusional behavior, repetitive projects, taking on tasks that never seem to be completed.

- Child or animal abuse; acts of violence, frequent expressions of anger, paranoia or depression.

THE GOVERNMENT’S ROLE

Trying to stamp out the blaze of illegal drugs, the government has committed a more intensified war against illegal drugs. Judging from the news we read and hear everyday, we realized how cruelty this crisis has been destroying people. From being a transshipment spot of illegal drugs, recent raids of some illegal drug plants and other paraphernalia in various places in the country show how capable we are to produce these drugs.

This poses a real challenge to the government who, aside from simply identifying these drug lords, must work closely with institutions that may be able to provide spiritual healing for drug dependents for ultimately, it is man’s spirit that the problem of drug addiction destroys. Examine the journey to healing of those who had been victimized. They had to go through some kind of spiritual transformation before they were finally released from addiction.

Those tempted by the seduction of illegal drugs must never forget the words of Lionel, “Drugs seem to give one motivation at first but slowly, it takes away his capability to live or to enjoy life. I know my experience will haunt me until the day I die.’’

Writing this makes me cold in the spine especially when I think of how millions of people who are falling into drugs everyday, every moment are actually romancing with the forces of evil. Yes, the devil has transformed again into illegal drugs to trap the innocent and the ignorant. BEWARE!


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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