MANILA, Philippines — Pushers give students the illegal drugs shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride) almost for free until they get hooked and become drug-dependent, anti-drug operatives of the Philippine National Police have learned.
The PNP Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Force (AIDSOTF) revealed this modus operandi of drug pushers who target campuses, alarmed by the free distribution of drugs to entice teenage students.
“Actually it’s not that the drugs are sold cheap, but they’re free,” task force spokesman Chief Inspector Roque Merdegia said.
“The pusher gives it for free until the student becomes dependent and becomes his regular customer. So it’s affordable, free at first in order to entice (the students) until they are forced to buy at the regular price,” he explained.
Aside from the free drugs, police operatives are also concerned that drug pushers have been using the students themselves as couriers to get drugs into the campus past unsuspecting security guards.
Merdegia said the modus of illegal drugs being given for free to students has been going on for some time.
He said the AIDSOTF chief, Senior Superintendent Bartolome Tobias, has ordered them to be vigilant in monitoring pushers around campuses “so they can’t do that modus of using students.”
Even high school students are prone to being enticed by drug pushers since they are at an age where they want to try out new things.
Although students rely on allowances, pushers apparently still target them since they are young and can be lifetime customers, Merdegia said.
With classes about to resume next month, AIDSOTF operatives are under orders from PNP chief Director General Alan Purisima to intensify operations around campuses.
Purisima reportedly wants daily operations through drug buy-bust or court-warranted police searches in the vicinity of schools.
School officials have to closely coordinate with the PNP if they suspect drug activities since police buy-bust operations may not work well inside campuses, according to Merdegia.
“There is one university that asked for our help because drugs are being sold right in front of the campus and so there may be pushing inside the campus. If there are 20,000 students, that’s a big business,” he said.
Merdegia said they welcome invitations from schools to talk to students about drug syndicates and the ills of drugs use.
He said parents should be more conscious of any changes in their children’s appearance or behavior, and talk to their teenage children about choosing their friends and trusting strangers.
Some physical and behavioral signs of drug use include neglect of studies, lack of energy, neglected appearance, inexplicable withdrawal from family activities and sudden request for money without reason.