It is not a mere coincidence that drug addiction — much like prostitution— is prevalent in the under-privileged class.
If you lock up a group of kind/decent people in a room with absolutely no way out for a long period of time without food, it will not take very long before they resort into cannibalism. Although this is an extreme case— it shows us that circumstances play a very big role in the decisions we make and how easily our morality can go out the window.
Many would like to believe that it’s just a matter of choosing the right thing and while this is right — there are actually many factors that predisposes a person to any types of addiction.
Case scenario: A very poor woman got pregnant and have to raise her child alone. During her pregnancy she was very malnourished and have to work long hours to survive. Because of her situation, she was very stressed out and suffered bouts of depression.
Behind the scenes, her body is trying to cope by producing a lot of chemicals like cortisol and epinephrine. These chemicals are being pumped into the developing fetus in her womb. Before the child is even born he is already dependent on epinephrine. (Shabu is a stimulant drug that causes the brain to release high doses of epinephrine.)
After giving birth to a baby boy, the lack of strong support system caused her to suffer postpartum depression. (The leading cause of the murder of infants by their own mother.) She did not murder her child but postpartum, stress and over-fatigue resulted in the neglect of the child. Not by her own conscious choice, but because she is a struggling human who is a slave to her own biology and circumstances.
Now, let’s focus on the child. Without proper parenting, the child grew up to be ill-mannered and irresponsible. And as a result of having a malnourished mother and himself also malnourished– while he was in the womb— the frontal lobe of his brain did not properly developed. This part of the brain is responsible for decision making, planning and motivation. Don’t forget that he was also pumped with high doses of epinephrine while in the womb.
Should we expect him to make the right decisions in his life with that brain and a body that is already dependent and seeking for epinephrine?
Is there any hope for this person? Yes there is!
If we can change the present and future circumstances of this person, he can and will change. But should you decide that he must die then all hope is lost. The brain is a wonderful thing, experiences can shape and rewire it.
As a proof, many people who are completely healthy suffered PTSD after being sent to war. The change in their circumstances had an immediate effect on their brain. When they come back from the war– without proper counselling and strong support system, these people are doomed and will eventually commit suicide.
Now if we can change the circumstances of a person and affect him positively — it will have a positive effect on them. Therefore— guns and violence are not the weapons we should arm ourselves in the War on Drugs, but rather the knowledge of the sciences, love, understanding and support. While that sounds like from a children’s book — it is a fact that one of the many addictive factors of a drug like Shabu is it’s ability to cause the brain to release a chemical called Dopamine. It’s the same chemical we release when we feel loved, accepted and understood. When people are lacking in those aspects, it would be difficult to walk away from Shabu because it makes them feel all those.
Right now what we have is a society that judged his mother, called her a bad mother. The society judged him also, called him worthless, told him he does not deserve to live and the President declared that he is not human. Yet not one of them who sits on their high horses offered a helping hand.
It is difficult to feel compassion for an ill-mannered, ignorant, irresponsible and drug addicted person (specially if you grew up in a privilege class like that one guy I know who was the son of a governor and is now the president of the Philippines) but we must always remind ourselves that a person doesn’t just happen to be what they are. We are all a result of many factors that affected us from conception to birth and adulthood.
Most of the progressive countries in the world have already accepted that addiction of any types are a disease and they have a reason to believe so. They did not just come up with that notion, it is based on many years of scientific research. The example case scenario that I presented here is just an example but it is based on facts. When I say stress, I don’t mean just a mental stress or anxiety but also physical stress. If you want to know what happened to the child, look around you. They are being killed everyday. Our society have given up on them and our solution to the problem is not to address the cause but to kill the product of the cause. Without addressing the cause, we will continue to produce the same problem.
I don’t know of any child who said they want to be a drug addict or a criminal when they grow up. But somewhere along the way many things happened. We are all equally responsible on what’s going to happen to that child, after all — it takes a community to raise a child. Let’s be a little more compassionate.
As the saying goes — “Dont Judge Me If You Have Not Walked In My Shoes”
Bittersweet Symphony by the Verve
This song always bring tears to my eyes. This was shared to me by a friend of mine two days before he overdosed on drugs. It’s a peek inside the mind of an addicted brain who recognizes that he can change but he is trapped in his mold or circumstances. He finds himself needing and pleading to hear a voice that recognize the pain in him, but find himself alone with no one but drugs. I specifically like the part where he says, “I’ll take you down the only road I’ve ever been down, You know the one that takes you to the places, where all the veins meet yeah”. As we know, all the veins meet in our spinal cord and leads to the brain.