Dealing with DrugsThe intrusion of a myriad of narcotics, the substances that ruin the human spirit and body to a frightening extent, has now reached a dangerous level even in Korea. New and even more scary alternative drugs, hitherto unknown to ordinary people, are making inroads into our neighborhoods at prices of several
thousand won (a few dollars) per dose, as was reported in a special front-page report in Joongang Ilbo on Sunday. Furthermore, drug dealers devise ever more ingenious ways of evading the law.
According to the special report from this paper, narcotics -- so difficult to shake off once you fall into their grip -- are encroaching on the Korean
population in a different form than in yesteryear. To start
with, they are not limited to traditional drugs, such as
methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine and marijuana. There is ecstasy, traded in the ubiquitous techno bars and often consumed with alcohol. There are other pills, such as a concoction of methamphetamine and caffeine, as well as capsules of all kinds of chemical substances. These
inexpensive drugs entice drinkers indiscriminately in some bars or are distributed through street dealers. The drugs are smuggled into Korea directly and indirectly from ever diversifying channels
-- China, the Philippines, Thailand and South American countries. Smugglers
resort to crafty ways. For example, they shun customs' watchful eyes by confusing the sniffer dogs with red peppers, garlic and snakes. It is shocking to learn that the dealers are even bold enough to sell their wares on
the Internet and in the streets.
Drug enforcement bodies have a long way to go to meet this
challenge. To tackle the drugs threat, it is necessary for Korea to make the most of international cooperation in administration and justice and become an active member of such networks. In
addition, domestic investigation authorities must come up with measures in keeping with the times, including the use of
state-of-the-art equipment like portable ion scanners. At the same time, they should seek out areas of improvement in the law enforcement system against drug offenders. The health authorities, in turn, should make efforts
to prevent drug use and rehabilitate abusers. One good way is to support the campaign against drugs on the civilian level. But what is most important is that each individual maintains a sound attitude toward life.
by Kim Young-bae