NAAWAN, Misamis Oriental (MindaNews/30 January) — The search for and later indulgence in something or activity that makes one feel good is a normal human craving. Many feel good licking a cone of ice cream while strolling in the park together with some buddies, sipping leisurely a choice hot coffee at Starbucks with a novel or an ipad at hand, or in viewing a much awaited film with special someone inside a classy and comfortable cinema house. Feeling good is probably the operational definition of happiness.
Ask illegal drug users who are in your confidence why they are in drugs, the common answer is that it makes them feel good. It gives them a certain high, enough to forget at some moments the stressful demands of living.
It is possible that the long term and sustainable strategy to end the drug menace is for the family and the community, meaning the government, schools, churches and civic organizations to come out with feeling good programs and activities for the population, young and old.
This may come in the form of providing reliable job or livelihood opportunities to those without decent sources of income and giving them access to efficient and reliable transition assistance, like skills training and other enabling activities and social services at the individual and community level.
Involving community members in activities or projects that pay back to participants, such as in waste management, (recycling and composting) and in coastal resources management, is no doubt satisfying. Consider, for instance, the recycling of plastic thrash. It is worthwhile for the government to go or encourage and support the business sector in the establishment of plastic recycling plants that may produce materials in the production of furniture, office and other useful household items. I suppose there are two of such plants operating in the country nowadays. If I remember right one is located in Mandaluyong already producing school tables and desks. The venture provides sources of income to garbage collectors and jobs to those who work in fabrication plants. This may also help restore the cleanliness and integrity of the environment.
On the other hand, the establishment and protection of community-based fishery sanctuaries or marine protected areas gives dividends to participants in the form of improved and sustainable catch and the immeasurable pleasure of being able to help restore the productivity and abundance of nature.
Meanwhile, what greater pleasure and happiness there is in watching our children grow into morally and socially responsible members of the community.
We need to spend as much time we can with our kids. They surely will feel good about it now and in times to come. And we owe that to them. Teaching children values to live by demands that we live the same values ourselves in our daily grinds amidst changing fortunes or circumstances.
Our children are our very own image. Brought up properly in an atmosphere of love, respect and responsibility they will be our precious contribution to the health and wealth of society.
Teaching couples the values of responsible parenthood and citizenship, like planning the size of their family and nurturing members the observance of the laws and rules of society will definitely make life economically manageable, pleasurable and decently sustainable and improve the quality of community transactions and social relationships. It will strongly contribute in maintaining not only order and security but more significantly the sanity of society.
The current fear approach to the drug menace should be jettisoned as it is apparently not making any progress reckoned from the continued wheeling and dealing of the prohibited drugs and the non-stop hunting and killing of drug personalities past the self-imposed deadline. The campaign has become a dark blotch to the effort to cleanse and free the country from the suffocating embrace of corruption.
Indeed, the long term solution to the problem lies not in the wicked use of force but in insightful policies and programs aimed in empowering with compassionate understanding those who are in the mire of the social order by expanding their options and giving them the chance to reconsider their life choices.
(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. William R. Adan is a retired professor and former chancellor of the Mindanao State University Naawan campus in Misamis Oriental).