• Glue addicts prowl streets of Mindanao

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    ZAMBOANGA CITY: Inhalant abuse continues unabated in Zamboanga City in southern Philippines where many street children are dangerously hooked or addicted to the illegal and toxic adhesive substance more popularly known as “rugby.”

    One elderly woman was secretly photographed selling rugby in small portions for as low as P20—to teenagers and street children, and even adults—at a market area just outside the local police headquarters. And the illegal trade goes on everyday.

    Juvenile delinquents sniffed their rugby in public without fear of arrest. And the public cares less whether these children get high or stoned or end up robbing market goers to sustain their addiction.

    Abode

    The little corner where the woman sells her rugby also serves as her abode—a concrete street post is where she takes her quick bath and a gallon of water is all she needs.

    Her small family, whose members sell anything from fish to used clothing, also use the same spot to rest or sleep, and as a mini-den to rugby-sniffing children and all these things happened in front of small children and their mother.

    One young woman watches over her baby as the others sniff rugby right on the roadside. She also bathes in the same concrete street post and hangs her clothes on a road sign as the elder woman does.

    But despite this glaring violation of the law, inhalant abuse is not only rampant among street children, but also one of many social problems in Zamboanga.

    Al Jacinto

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