Young people by the thousands are dropping dead by consuming chemicals into their bodies to forget their problems or just to get an exciting high and overcome inhibitions. A few weeks ago in an open air dance concert in Manila, another five people collapsed in the outdoor dance area and died on the spot or later in hospital from presumed drug overdose. Ecstasy and a powerful variety of marijuana and crystal meth are easily available.
 
These young people were seemingly victims of the drug culture. What a tragic loss of young lives and pain and suffering for their family and friends. They could be your children or grandchildren, nephews or nieces- all are targets of the drug pushers and dealers. We cannot stand idly by wringing our hands helplessly. We must act and campaign for a drug-free society, not a society that tolerates ,ignores, or as in some Northern hemisphere countries  legalizes dangerous drugs. 
 
Murdering drug pushers or denouncing them without evidence or  a trial or accusing them before TV cameras is wrong. It is a violation of their rights. In that system, anyone can accuse you or me and we could be shot without due process. 
 
Regions and functions of the human brain affected by THC
 
Any person accused is entitled by law to due process and a fair trial. Vigilante killing of suspects without a trial is not a solution, it is murder. More pushers, drug lords, and dealers will take their place, who would they be? If they are politicians with hit squads who kill  suspects they are no saints and  can easily  take over the drug business and remain in power forever. Goodbye democracy, here come the goons.
 
It is only by having a high value of our lives and health of our children and all our citizens and teaching our children by good example to be drug and alcohol-free and eat healthy food will they have a healthy, productive meaningful life. The drug users did not have these values and are victims. They need recovery, therapy, and rehabilitation.
 
The youth must be taught to be smart, knowledgeable and committed to a life of drug-free dignity. When we end the demand, then we end the supply. This can be done by the inspiring  words and deeds of responsible youth, parents, teachers, and national leaders. They must give moral leadership and good example of a disciplined drug, alcohol and vice-free life.  
 
Public campaigning and government legislative action and public education has driven back the smoking  scourge and now it's hip to be tobacco-free. That is an example of success and a non-violent solution. Knowledge is power and we have to empower others and ourselves with the truth to oppose the drug use and make it unacceptable in society. 
 
Drug abuse can be defeated. In other countries, activists must prevent it being legalized as is happening in some places in the USA and Europe.
 
The sex trade and human trafficking is drug driven. The victims are lured, made dependent or forcibly addicted in order to subdue and control them. Before they are abducted and trafficked, they are frequently tranquilized with drugs to make them docile and submissive. Then they are sold into sex slavery to many customers who are high on drugs especially marijuana with high levels of THC. Governments must stop giving operating permits and licenses to the sex brothels and bars. 
 
Campaigners in Northern hemisphere countries are protecting youth and children from the dangers of drugs by working to stop the legalization of some dangerous drugs, especially cannabis. Their campaign is knowledge-based and backed by cutting-edge scientific research and important findings. These are the great unsung, but often criticized, heroes of our time. 
 
The decades-long campaigner Grainne Kenny, honorary president of Europe Against Drugs (EURAD)  and Irish Laureate  1989 Women Of Europe Award for her campaign to save youth from drug use, has this to say  to those working to decriminalize cannabis use. 
 
"Decriminalisation will bring the drug problem out of the scope of penal (criminal) law. Law enforcement will no longer be provided for the export. Import, manufacture, distribution, sale, publicity, possession and use of drugs that are up till now controlled within the scope of international conventions. The consequences are that society will have no law or lever to use to direct drug addicts towards help and treatment. Neither does society have means to suppress trafficking”. (Eurad’s founding papers)
 
 
Cannabis and other drugs of abuse, including alcohol, is the cause of a huge rise in broken homes abandoned children and many deaths in road accidents in recent years as the percentage of THC chemical is now so strong and powerful. In the UK the 16% cannabis is called Skunk.  In years past the percent of deadly THC was 1% to 2%.
 
Now that is deadly, dangerous drug if ever there was one. (cannabisskunksense.co.uk) It causes severe damage to  our brains and DNA and this will cause birth defects in children of the next generation.
 
Dr. Akira Miroshima, an authority on cytogenetics and formerly of Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, said: “... in my twenty years of research on human cells, I have never found any other drug, including heroin, which comes close to the DNA damage caused by marijuana.” 
 
If cannabis or marijuana is legalized and then damage to children is shown in their DNA, then the governments that legalized the drug and the companies who sold it will be liable for huge damage claims into the billions of dollars as happened with other legalized drugs that caused harm. 
 
It is our duty to protect our children of this generation and of the next by preventing harm and hurt. This is by making drug use the social menace and pariah in society and teaching our children to stand against it and resist peer pressure to use it.  
 
Rev. Shay Cullen is a co-founder of PREDA: a non-profit dedicated to defending the rights of children.
 
 

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