Filipino President, Duterte, receives criticisms over “Drug War”

Since taking office in June of 2016, President Duterte, has been a strong proponent of increasing sanctions against drug users and sellers, and by “sanctions”, I mean death.  While many countries such as Denmark, treat drug issues primarily as a medical concern rather than a criminal one, the Filipino president appears to have reversed this European precedent.

The 45 years long war on drugs in the United States, is also a very controversial topic that mirrors many of the same criticisms. Whereas the United States boasts the largest prison population on the planet, primarily caused by harsh drug laws, the Philippines is going a step further by using death as a means of punishment instead of incarceration or rehabilitation programs. On the surface, it may seem to be a swift strategy of “no tolerance” against the destructive nature of drug manufacturing. However, just like in any “war”, innocent casualties will also become a factor. The government has said over 3,800 were killed in legitimate anti-illegal drug operations. Human rights groups peg the number of deaths at over 13,000, but the administration has dismissed this figure as overblown.

Duterte recently scaled back his drug war, tapping the smaller Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency as the lead government body to enforce the campaign and relegating the police force to a supporting role.  This resulted in the Philippine National Police to terminate its controversial house-to-house anti-drug campaign “Oplan Tokhang” (knock and plead).

These “door step” trials can sometimes result in “trigger happy” officers firing on innocent people, house pets, or minor children, such as in the case of  17-year-old Kian Loyd delos Santos, who was dragged past a basketball court into a dead-end screaming, “Please can I go home. I have school tomorrow”. He was given a gun and told to run, whereas he was essentially killed by a firing squad. A perfectly staged killing set up by public servants against their own citizens.

Just as in all forms of law enforcement, there must be a balance between deterrence through punishment and a gentle hand of compassion in order to change the law, repeal the law, or rehabilitate the offender. A society ran on fear will never flourish just as in the days of Feudal Japan or the Monarchy of Britain that ruled over the American Colonists.

New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) said world leaders should raise concern about Duterte’s war on drugs, which has seen thousands dead, mostly from the urban poor.

“Surely someone from among the 20 world leaders at these summits can confront Duterte about his horrific and unprecedented ‘drug war’ killings,” Brad Adams, HRW Asia Director, said in a statement.

The President’s son, Paolo Duterte, 42, appeared last month before a senate inquiry to deny accusations made by an opposition lawmaker that he was a member of a Chinese triad gang who helped smuggle in a huge shipment of crystal methamphetamine from China.

President Duterte pledged to protect police officers should they decide to murder his son if the allegations are indeed found to be true, in a speech made to the public. President Duterte claims that the law is not exempt for anyone under his Drug War parameters, including himself or family members.

Protesters soon rallied afterwards holding signs saying, “Stop the killings!”, “No rule by Martial Law”.  Many of the protesters grew up in the era of the Marcos family who ruled over the Philippines for years using Martial Law tactics that involved extra-judicial killings and suppression of free-speech alongside the ban of private gun ownership.

Duterte responded to the protesters by saying, “I would be happy to slaughter the 3 million drug addicts in this country”, whereas he went on to describe any children killed in the drug war as “collateral damage”.  Leaders in the Catholic church, the country’s dominant religion, have also spoken out against these harsh tactics used in this drug war.

Archbishop Socrates Villegas, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, denounced the drug killings at another mass on Thursday, saying Catholics must do more than lighting candles for the dead and helping orphans. “Stand up. To keep quiet in the face of evil is a sin,” he said.

President Duterte is still in the early stages of his presidency. It isn’t too late for him to turn things around and have a change of heart. Like many great leaders, good intentions often pave the way to hell. While few doubt that the president doesn’t means well in his effort to solve the drug use problem in the Philippines, few agree that instituting a civil war against your own people in order to solve that problem can be a viable remedy.

We pray that world leaders will discuss alternative methods of curbing drug use in the Philippines with Duterte during upcoming conferences. Perhaps, such conversations will also influence American leaders who have also refused to adopt a more European approach towards solving drug use problems with medical solutions rather than criminal solutions. Currently the United States is spending over $51 billion dollars a year on drug enforcement measurements. A figure that many argue could be funneled into more productive rehabilitation programs. We can only pray that Duterte and other leaders who use similar tactics will be paying attention to the words of protestors and human rights organizations in the coming months leading up to a new election cycle.

 

Nalini-Global

2017

Randell Stroud

Cannabidiol Discussed in International Drug Scheduling Convention on Psychotropic Substances

To:  ecddsecretariat@who.int

The Secretariat of the World Health Organization

From: Naliniglobal@yahoo.com

Nalini-Global, Founder, Randell Stroud- International Human Rights Organization

RE: International Drug Scheduling Convention on Psychotropic Substances

The United States , as well as the international community, will be participating in a global study to potentially reschedule a host of illegal and/or regulated substances including Ketamine, Carfentanil. CBD (cannabidiol) and various other narcotics. Nalini-Global has submitted an official comment to the convention and  will also be submitting this article to the secretariat of the World Health Organization as secondary material to be referenced at the later stages of the study.

The study is known as the “International Drug Scheduling Convention on Psychotropic Substances”  and is being overseen by the World Health Organization.

An official notice by the FDA was released regarding the convention and its procedures: (Read as follows)

“The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is requesting interested persons to submit comments concerning abuse potential, actual abuse, medical usefulness, trafficking, and impact of scheduling changes on availability for medical use of 17 drug substances. These comments will be considered in preparing a response from the United States to the World Health Organization (WHO) regarding the abuse liability and diversion of these drugs. WHO will use this information to consider whether to recommend that certain international restrictions be placed on these drugs. This notice requesting comments is required by the Controlled Substances Act (the CSA).”

As you can tell from the notice, the FDA as well as the World Health Organization, are inviting persons of interests as well as international organizations, to be involved in the discussion of rescheduling certain “drugs” or having certain ones completely removed from scheduling.  We here at Nalini-Global have decided to throw our hats into the discussion and submit an official comment to be reviewed during the convention which is set to be discussed after the deadline for submitting comments has passed. (September 13th, 2017)  Each member state must provide an official response to the secretariat of the World Health Organization by September 30th,2017.

Upon first glance, many readers might say, “Drugs are bad! There is no discussion to be had!”.  However, many countries have decriminalized all drugs or have put more focus into “harm reduction strategies”. Countries like Portugal and Switzerland, treat drug addiction as a medical problem, not as a criminal one. ( Mind you, “decriminalization”  and “legalization” are not the same thing.  )

In the scope of this convention,  various substances are being looked at to see whether or not they have any medical value and/or whether or not these substances should be reclassified or possibly completely removed from the drug “schedules”.  What are “schedules”? Drug schedules are essentially a chart that labels certain substances in levels of potential danger from use.  There are Five Schedules. Schedule I drugs include, cocaine, heroine, LSD, Marijuana(including CBD products), Peyote, Ecstasy, and a few others. According to the Schedule I guidelines created by the FDA, Schedule I drugs are considered “highly addictive” and pose a potential for abuse.

Schedule V drugs are known as “controlled substances”, usually over the counter drugs such as codeine or Robitussin.   (Read more about Drug Schedules here)

Currently, the United States of America has the largest prison population in the world, more than Russia or China combined. Over 70% of American inmates are incarcerated on drug related charges. This prison industrial complex creates economic barriers and deep scars on those effected. While it is Nalini-Global’s position that all drugs should be decriminalized in a way that is similar to what Portugal and Switzerland have implemented, we have decided to focus on “Cannabis”, specifically “Cannabidiol”  also known as “CBD”.

While some argue the benefits of psychedelics such as Peyote, LSD, and other substances, pushing for decriminalization in the United States appears to be a far-cry in the midst of America’s 30 year long, “War on Drugs”.  Alas, pushing for the legalization and/or decriminalization of Cannabis, specifically CBD, makes alot more sense.  Hence, why so many comments submitted towards this convention have specifically requested that CBD be removed from the schedules completely.

While some may argue that marijuana is dangerous because of its intoxicating effects and should remain illegal (except for under the supervision of a doctor for medical purposes), such arguments cannot logically be made towards CBD.  CBD is one of the cannabanoids found in Cannabis and its related plant, “Hemp”. CBD is non-intoxicating and acts on “CB2” receptors in the body, while THC (the intoxicating compound found in marijuana) , mainly acts on “CB1” receptors in the body.  These receptors influence pain, inflammation responses, mood, sleep patterns, and other functions in the body.

That’s right! The human body is actually built with cannabanoid receptors, as if nature intended for this plant to be consumed.  Most Marijuana strains are bred and sold with very high THC content. THC is the chemical that gives the user a sense of euphoria, pleasure, and does have pain relief and anti-tumor fighting properties, however, it can cause paranoia and impairment.  CBD is one of the compounds found in marijuana and hemp that contains no intoxicating effects yet retains most of the medical benefits that THC has to offer and then some! Calming anxiety, reducing inflammation and pain, inducing relaxation, stopping seizures, the list goes on!

When we hear the word, “Drug”, we immediately think of intoxication and danger. However, CBD poses no danger. Even in very high dosages, the only reported side-effect was lowered-blood pressure which returned to normal when use was discontinued.

Celebrities such as Michael J Fox, Montel Williams, and Whoopi Goldberg have also publicly endorsed  the use of CBD’s for their own health issues.  Michael J Fox, actor and comedian, stated that CBD was the only thing that reduced his tremors caused by Parkinson’s disease. Montell Williams stated, quote, “Snowboarding and Cannabis saved my life and have helped me combat my disease of Muscular Sclerosis.”

When THC and CBD are ingested in balanced amounts as such found in cannabis strains like, “Harlequin”, the medicinal effects of cannabis are fully realized. However, the Hemp plant, which contains almost no THC, does have a high amount of CBD. CBD by itself is not quite as powerful alone without the other dozen cannabanoids supporting it, which are naturally found in Cannabis, yet it remains extremely beneficially and extremely safe. In my opinion, CBD should be regulated as if it were a vitamin C tablet, to be sold in stores everywhere. Due to it not have any major adverse effects from use or found to be intoxicating in any shape or form, it makes no sense for it to be included in the FDA’s drug schedules.

To read Nalini-Global’s official comment submitted to the Convention on Narcotics, please refer to the information below.

ID: FDA-2017-N-4515-0291 (Docket #)

Tracking Number: 1k1-8y3x-1rgt

Nalini-Global- Official Comment (Click here)  

note: Comment can also be downloaded on our Human Rights Reporting Page

 

If I can be of any additional assistance towards the process or development of this convention, please reply to this correspondence with additional instructions.

Sincerely,

Randell D Stroud

Owner,

Nalini-Global