Showing posts with label Drugs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Drugs. Show all posts

March 12, 2019

Little by Little Scientist Have Been Gaining Ground on HIV/AIDS~Let Me Tell You~

The unnamed “London patient” the second person apparently cured of H.I.V. — earned all the headlines. But other research released this week at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections showed that scientists are making slow but steady progress on the tactics and medicines needed to fight the epidemic, especially in Africa.

Monthly injections of long-acting H.I.V. drugs proved as good as daily pills at suppressing the virus, according to two trials involving more than 1,000 patients. In another study, Descovy, a new formulation of the H.I.V. treatment Truvada, proved just as effective at suppressing the virus and may have fewer — or at least different — side effects.


A study of the “test and treat” strategy in one million people in South Africa and Zambia — the largest H.I.V. prevention study ever conducted — produced mixed results.

Offering widespread home testing plus treatment to the sickest patients did reduce the number of new infections. But offering immediate treatment to all did not help as much as had been expected. 

And a study of pregnant women in Uganda and South Africa showed that a relatively new drug, dolutegravir, was better than the standard treatment for women about to give birth.

The results of those trials were revealed at the C.R.O.I. meeting in Seattle, a scientific conference held each year in the United States. It tends to offer more research and fewer theatrics than the International AIDS Society conferences that move to new cities around the globe every two years.

Proving that injectable H.I.V. drugs work is important because many people forget to take their daily pills or cannot keep pills in their homes.

The success of the two injectable-drug studies — named Atlas and Flair — raised hopes among H.I.V. experts that these shots may eventually be used to protect the uninfected. (Trials testing that idea are underway now, but results are not expected for about three years.)
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Doctors working in poor countries are eager for injections or implants that will release small daily doses of antiretroviral drugs because the devices can be used in secrecy. Providing injections may be harder than handing out pills, but the option may attract patients with H.I.V. who would otherwise stay away.
A study of pregnant women in Uganda and South Africa found dolutegravir to be more effective in fighting H.I.V. than the standard treatment. 

A study of pregnant women in Uganda and South Africa found dolutegravir to be more effective in fighting H.I.V. than the standard treatment.CreditBaz Ratner/Reuters
African women often say they cannot be caught with pills, microbicides, vaginal rings or other anti-H.I.V. measures because they fear that their husbands, lovers, family members or neighbors will mistakenly assume they are infected.

Long-lasting contraceptive injections like Depo-Provera are much more popular in Africa than in the United States because many women must conceal birth control from their partners, who may get angry that they do not want more children.

Similarly, many gay or bisexual men would welcome a discreet way to take H.I.V. drugs because they are hiding from their spouses or families that they have sex with men.

Both studies tested monthly injections of cabotegravir and rilpivirine deep into the buttocks. The shots worked, and only a handful of participants dropped out complaining they were too painful. Post-trial surveys found that 98 percent of the subjects preferred injections to pills.

In poor countries, cabotegravir may be especially useful because it does not need to be refrigerated.

The clinical trial involving Descovy, a new pill from Gilead Sciences containing a form of tenofovir known as TAF — instead of TDF, the form in Truvada — showed that it suppressed the virus just as well as Truvada did.

People who take Truvada every day as PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis, are almost 100 percent protected against getting H.I.V., whether from unprotected sex or drug injection.

The trial, known as Discover, found that Descovy was slightly less likely than Truvada to harm kidneys or bone density, but other studies have suggested that Descovy is more likely to raise cholesterol.

Gilead said it will soon ask the Food and Drug Administration to let it market Descovy as PrEP. Some AIDS activists worry that people at risk will be urged to switch to Descovy just as low-cost generic versions of Truvada become available.

Truvada has been very safe for most patients, but its high price — now about $20,000 a year — and the red tape needed to help the uninsured pay for it have become major obstacles to ending the AIDS epidemic in the United States.

Gilead has already sold $33 billion worth of tenofovir; it is now shifting its new H.I.V. drug cocktails to TAF, which will remain patented — and, presumably, expensive — for many more years.

The trial in 21 neighborhoods in Zambia and South Africa — a region where H.I.V. infection rates are the world’s highest — was designed to see whether infection rates could be dramatically cut if teams of counselors went door-to-door, testing anyone who agreed and offering pills to anyone testing positive. Counselors also offered advice, condoms, circumcisions, tuberculosis tests and other incentives to lower infection rates during the trial, which is known as PopArt and ran from 2013 to 2018.

It was assumed that communities, where patients were offered treatment immediately, would have by far the lowest rates of new infection. But they did not, even though tests suggested that more people there were taking their pills; further analysis of that quandary will be done, the investigators said.

“PopArt is a head-scratcher,” Mitchell J. Warren, executive director of A.V.A.C., an advocacy group for H.I.V. prevention, said in an email. 

Combining the results of the two main subgroups — those offered pills immediately and those offered pills only when they showed early signs of illness — showed that these strategies lowered new infections by about 20 percent.

Therefore, Mr. Warren said, offering treatment without offering PrEP at the same time “is not the way to epidemic control. Frustrating!”

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The pregnancy trial, called Dolphin-2, showed that 74 percent of women who got dolutegravir-based drug cocktails in their third trimester had no H.I.V. in their blood when they gave birth. Only 43 percent of the women who got older efavirenz-based combinations reached that benchmark.

That was a “highly significant” difference in how fast each drug drove the virus out of the blood, said Dr. Saye Khoo, an H.I.V. specialist at the University of Liverpool who led the trial.

That is important because many women in Africa find out they are infected late in pregnancy, and it can be hard to prevent them from infecting their babies.

Some babies in each test group died, and a few were born infected anyway. The investigators believed the deaths were from unrelated causes like sepsis or pneumonia, and that the rare H.I.V. infections occurred early in the pregnancies before either drug regimen could kick in.
Donald G. McNeil Jr. is a science reporter covering epidemics and diseases of the world’s poor. He joined The Times in 1976 and has reported from 60 countries.

Don't be shy with questions!~~~~~~~

March 10, 2018

PharmaBro Martin Shkreli Wasn't Smiling Anymore But the Sobbing and Begging For Mercy Took Its Place

The guy with no heart that made sick people go without because he could.  He got sentenced to 7 years.

[Forbes] What a comedown. Two years ago, the smirking failed hedge fund manager and former pharma CEO Martin Shkreli laughed as he invoked his Fifth Amendment rights when testifying before Congress. It was all a joke
Today, his smirk was gone. Shkreli cried — sobbed, in some accounts — as he begged for "your honor's mercy," pleading for leniency from a federal court judge.
Shkreli got seven years on Friday. Mercy he had failed to show others was withheld. "Pharma Bro" had committed an unforgivable theft.
The 34-year-old son of Albanian and Croatian immigrantshas had an interesting career. He was first investigated by the SEC in 2000, when he was 16, for suspiciously timely shorting of a stock. Shkreli was cleared.

In New York,  Martin Shkreli, the notorious former hedge fund manager, is scheduled to be sentenced in U.S. District Court on Friday for defrauding investors.

Prosecutors have asked U.S. District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto to sentence Shkreli to at least 15 years in prison. Shkreli’s defense team is asking for much less, 12 to 18 months.

Shkreli’s case has attracted international media attention for his outsized personality. An hour before his sentencing hearing, more than half a dozen television cameras were stationed outside the courthouse. Inside, his father, who sat in the front row of the courtroom every day during his five-week trial, paced in a hallway. 

Shkreli, 34, best known for raising the price of an AIDS drug by 5,000 percent when he was chief executive of Turing Pharmaceuticals, was convicted by a Brooklyn jury in August of defrauding the investors in his hedge funds. Shkreli lied to obtain investors’ money, they didn’t tell them when he made a bad stock bet that led to massive losses, prosecutors argued. Instead, they said, he raised more money to pay off other investors or took money and stock from Retrophin, a drug company that he was running. 

Shkreli’s defense attorneys have argued that his investors eventually made money and said the jury erred by convicting Shkreli on some of the counts he faced. Matsumoto rejected those motions.

“The big risk that Shkreli faces here is that he has kind of dug his own grave four times already with this court by showing this complete disdain and thumbing of his nose to the judicial process and the court and law enforcement,” said David Chase, a former prosecutor for the Securities and Exchange Commission. “You couple that with the judge’s very powerful discretion, and it just [isn’t] going to end well.” 

Shkreli responds to conviction
Martin Shkreli, a former pharmaceutical CEO, spoke to reporters after he was convicted of three counts of securities fraud on Aug. 4. (Reuters)
Usually boisterous and defiant, Shkreli has recently struck a contrite tone. “I accept the fact that I made serious mistakes, but I still believe that I am a good person with much potential,” he said in a three-page letter to the judge overseeing his case.

But it may be too late. Prosecutors dismiss Shkreli’s contrition as insincere and say that his ability to repay investors is further evidence of his crime, not his innocence. “Not once does Shkreli acknowledge that he lied to investors and committed fraud,” prosecutors said. Shkreli’s investors were not “repaid due to Shkreli’s personal generosity or honest hard work, but were ultimately remunerated due to Shkreli’s continuing crimes.”

In the two years since FBI agents ushered him from his Manhattan apartment, Shkreli has gone from a rising star in the hedge fund world to Wall Street bad boy. He has smirked his way through interviews and congressional appearances and beefed with rappers, reporters and almost anyone else in his path. He was repeatedly kicked off Twitter. There was a satirical musical about him, “Pharma Bro: An American Douchical!” (it received good reviews) and an episode of CNBC’s “American Greed” dedicated to his troubles.

His antics even continued during his five-week trial. Once, he walked into a room full of reporters and mocked the Brooklyn prosecutors on his case as the “junior varsity” to the federal prosecutors in Manhattan. Matsumoto told him to stop talking. Later, after the trial, Matsumoto revoked Shkreli’s $5 million bail after he offered his Facebook followers money to pull a strand of Hillary Clinton’s hair.

Washington Post

It is adamfoxie's 10th🦊Anniversay. 10 years witnessing the world and bringing you a pieace whcih is ussually not getting its due coverage.

August 23, 2017

Ultra Right Loves Trump So Much They Even Swallow Him with Their Drugs

(CNN)German police have seized around 5,000 ecstasy tablets shaped like the head of US President Donald Trump, a haul worth tens of thousands of euros. 
The tablets were found in a car in Lower Saxony, a state in northwest Germany, police confirmed in a statement Monday.
German police released images of the pills on Monday.
"During the search of the vehicle police found about 5,000 ecstasy tablets with the portrait of the American president ... the purchase value of the tablets amounts to approximately 11,000 euros (about $12,900); the sales value amounts to approximately 39,000 euros," the statement said.
A 51-year-old man and his 17-year-old son appeared in court on Sunday and an arrest warrant has been issued

August 5, 2017

DEA Proposes Cutting Production of Opioid Pain Killers But No Word on People That Legally Need Them

 "Opium is only a Puppy"

No body can accuse the Trump Administration of not coming out with solutions with problems. Right solutions? Illegal immigration problem? built a wall, people abusing opiods? let's not manufacture them. They haven't suggested complete shut down of that market but cutting down on precription pain relieving medication is drastic and it might not be the end of that solution. Prescription as we all know, means a doctor prescribes and opiods are today one of the best legal ways to relief "extreme" pain. 

The first problem is that on some people it works too well. The Doctors prescribes it because you broke a bone. During the first 10 days you are prescribe opiods to help you have a life instead of being in bed crying from pain. Great so far. The problem occurs on these people that are taken off a pill that took the pain away but they now want to continue feeling with no pain even if there is no pain because now they want to eleiminate our daily human problems. They might convince the doctor to give them some more. The thing is that at some time the doctor will cut off that med. So What is the other problem?

The other problem is, a black market that will manufacure anything from heroin to must oipiods and any other drug. Obviously not regulated. That black market also has the real stuff by people that will sell for good money the pills the doctor prescribed. They will rather deal with the pain of a broken bone but have something else they want or need. That is one of the legs that make the opiod problem move around.

Obviously if you take the opiods away it will solve that problem of people overdosing on them. Just like if you take the cars away there will be no highway deaths or if you take the booze away like it was done during the days of prohibition, then there will be no drunk driving and no deaths related to it. But smart people have recognized that '0 tolerance' is not the way to go.

Simplistic solutions to complex problems are just that, simple are non-workable.

Let me add that the DEA is going by a report from a Presidential Comission on Opiods headed by the Governor and soon to be unemployeed Chris Christie of New Jersey. As a matter a fact Mr. Christie made a trip to see his old pal President Trump to ask for aa declaration of emergency. Funny for people whose ambion is as big as their pants and on the way to nowhere will try to get ahead and pigy back on a serious problem to make it a state of emergency and have him be in charge of such emrgency. Lots of coverage. lots of news to be made.
He did not get the emrgency but someone very important at the White House gave a substitution suggestion to the problem to slow down manufacturing of the drug, which will bring the prices sky high for the real needy user and for the one selling it. People with cancer are feeling just more pain as they learn about this.

"DEA Proposes Cutting Production of Opioid Pain Killers-Someone Hooked on Ice Cream Wants to Stop People Being Hooked on Pain Relievers"

 One drug also coming from a plant we know well helps with pain but is banned by the DEA.  Jeff Session , Attorney General wants to go after users, including those with precriptions with doctors. He also wants to stop doctors precribing in states that marijuana is legal. 


(Reuters) - The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) on Friday proposed a 20 percent reduction in the manufacture of certain commonly prescribed opioid painkillers as well as other controlled substances for next year.

The proposal comes as U.S. regulators and lawmakers take steps to limit the supply of opioids - a class of drugs that include prescription painkillers and heroin - to combat the epidemic of abuse, overdose and addiction.

Under the Controlled Substances Act, which organizes drugs into groups based on risk of abuse or harm, most opioids come under the Schedule II category. The higher the category, the bigger the risk.

Demand for certain Schedule II opioid painkillers including morphine, fentanyl, oxycodone and hydrocodone has dropped after the imposition of measures such as prescription drug monitoring programs, the DEA said.

Still, opioid overdose kills 142 Americans a day, and drug overdoses now surpass deaths caused by gun homicides and car crashes combined, according to a White House commission formed to combat drug addiction and the opioid crisis.

The DEA's proposed production quotas for Schedule I and II substances reflect the amount needed to meet the United States' medical, scientific, industrial, export and reserve requirements, the agency said.

Members of the public can comment on the proposal over the next 30 days.

The DEA recommendation comes about two months after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration took the rare step of asking a drugmaker to withdraw its opioid painkiller from the market, citing the public health crisis. Endo International Plc (ENDP.O) in early July agreed to pull the drug, Opana ER.

Reporting by Natalie Grover in Bengaluru; Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar
Introduction by adamfoxie blog

April 19, 2017

21.6 Thousand DrugCases tobe Dismissed Chemist Falsified Evidence

Massachusetts is set to dismiss 21,587 drug convictions tied to a disgraced state chemist who falsified evidence for years, according to the ACLU.

The drug-lab chemist was Annie Dookhan, who pleaded guilty to 27 counts in 2013, including obstruction of justice, perjury, and tampering with evidence. The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts said it will be the largest dismissal of wrongful convictions as a result of one case in U.S. history.

 Dookhan was such a prolific chemist that the thousands of drug cases tied to her became known as “Dookhan defendants.” Dookhan admitted that she declared drug samples positive that she didn’t even test, forged signatures, and embellished her credentials to embolden her reputation as an expert witness in court. She was sentenced to three to five years in prison and was granted parole last year, the New York Times reported.

In January, Massachusetts’ highest court ordered district attorneys to produce lists of cases connected to Dookhan’s work that could be dismissed. The deadline for these lists was Tuesday. The ACLU of Massachusetts, observing the data, said that 21,587 cases (almost all of them) would be dismissed. This could happen as early as Thursday. There are 320 cases that will not be dismissed, and defendants will have the opportunity for retrial.

Most of those sentenced to jail time (some for several years) from Dookhan’s eight years’ work have already served their sentences, according to the ACLU. Beyond prison time, those convicted held records that harmed employment opportunities, limited housing prospects, and, in some cases, threatened immigration status.

“Unfortunately, the victims of this crisis waited far too long for justice,” said Matthew Segal, legal director of the ACLU of Massachusetts, in a statement.

September 7, 2016

Duterte Cursing DPL’s Without Penalty, Until Obama!/Drugs?Contract Out on U:’Duterte’

 Duterte foul mouth Gets Him to pay a price this time with US President Obama

 US President Barack Obama has cancelled a meeting with controversial Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who had earlier called him a "son of a whore".
Mr Duterte was responding to the US president's promise to raise the issue of drug-related extra-judicial killings in the Philippines at their meeting.
The Philippine leader, known for his colorful language, has insulted prominent figures before, but has never said sorry or expressed regrets but this time it has had diplomatic consequences.
He has now said he regrets the remark.
"While the immediate cause was my strong comments to certain press questions that elicited concern and distress, we also regret that it came across as a personal attack on the US president," a statement by his office said. 
 In the past, President Duterte has called Pope Francis the "son of a whore", US Secretary of State John Kerry "crazy" and recently referred to the US ambassador to the Philippines a "gay son of a whore".
Both he and President Obama are in Laos for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) summit.

Duterte's apology: Analysis by Karishma Vaswani in Laos

Mr Duterte has been forced to apologise for offensive comments before, but this is the first time he has had to confront the reality of his outlandish behaviour on the international stage
It is the president's first overseas trip - an opportunity that many leaders would have used to cement ties with neighbouring countries and superpowers like China and the US. 
Instead Mr Duterte has spent the morning dampening down the controversy he created. 
At the heart of this is the fact that Mr Duterte isn't used to being told what to do; and that he likes to display machismo and bravado, which plays well to his domestic audience. 
But when he sits down for serious discussions with his Asean counterparts over the next couple of days, they'll be looking for Asian discretion and subtlety, not diplomacy Duterte-style. 

How the row escalated

Mr Obama, who flew to Laos after attending the G20 meeting in Hangzhou, China, had been set to raise concerns about human rights abuses in the Philippines. 
But speaking in Manila on Monday before he left for Laos, Mr Duterte bristled at the suggestion, saying the Philippines "has long ceased to be a colony".
"Putang ina, I will swear at you in that forum," he then said, using a Tagalog phrase for "son of a whore" or "son of a bitch".

US President Obama arrives in Vientiane, Laos, on 6 September 2016Image copyrightAP
Image captionBarack Obama is the first sitting US president to visit Laos
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte arrives for the Asean summit in Laos on 6 September 2016Image copyrightAP
Image captionThis is Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's first overseas trip - and already controversial

Mr Obama initially appeared to play down the insult, calling his Philippine counterpart a "colourful character" and saying he had asked his aides to work out if this is "a time where we can have some constructive, productive conversations".
His aides later cancelled the talks. 
Mr Obama's last scheduled trip to Asia as president has not been without incident: he was also caught up in a protocol row with hosts China over his arrival in Hangzhou.

Philippine police in a raid on suspected drug smugglers in Manila on 5 September 2016Image copyrightAFP
Image captionRodrigo Duterte's tough talk on crime helped him to a landslide victory in May's elections

In his comments on Monday, President Duterte pledged to continue with his anti-drugs campaign that has led to the killing of 2,400 suspected drug dealers and users in the Philippines since he took office in June.
"Many will die, plenty will be killed until the last pusher is out of the streets... until the [last] drug manufacturer is killed we will continue," he said.
  • Duterte accuses judges of drugs, He put out links
  • The woman who kills drug dealers for a living:
The UN has repeatedly condemned Mr Duterte's policies as a violation of human rights. In August, two UN human rights experts said Mr Duterte's directive for police and the public to kill suspected drug traffickers amounted to "incitement to violence and killing, a crime under international law".
This round of Asean talks comes against the backdrop of tensions over China's territorial ambitions in the South China Sea - the Philippines and the US are key players in that debate.

The Philippines is in the midst of a brutal war on drugs sanctioned by the controversial President Rodrigo Duterte, which has seen almost 2,000 killings in a matter of weeks. The BBC’s Jonathan Head explores the country’s dark underbelly of dealers and assassins through the story of one woman trapped in a chilling predicament.

When you meet an assassin who has killed six people, you don't expect to encounter a diminutive, nervous young woman carrying a baby. "My first job was two years ago in this province nearby. I felt really scared and nervous because it was my first time.

  • Often called "ice" or "crystal meth" in the West, Shabu is the term used for a pure and potent form of amphetamine in the Philippines and other parts of Asia.
  • Shabu costs about 1,000 Philippines peso per gram ($22; £16)
  • It can be smoked, injected, snorted or dissolved in water
  • The Philippines is home to industrial-scale labs producing tones of the drug - which is then distributed throughout Asia. 
  • Mr Duterte describes it as a pandemic, afflicting millions of his fellow citizens. It is also very profitable. He has listed 150 senior officials, officers and judges linked to the trade. Five police generals, he says, are kingpins of the business. But it is those at the lowest levels of the trade who are targeted by the death squads.
According to the police more than 1,900 people have been killed in drug-related incidents since he took office on 30 June. Of those, they say, 756 were killed by the police, all, they say, while resisting arrest. The remaining deaths are, officially, under investigation. 
In practice most will remain unexplained. Nearly all those whose bloodied bodies are discovered every night in the slums of Manila and other cities are the poor - pedicab drivers, casual labourers, the unemployed. Often, found next to them are cardboard signs warning others not to get involved in drugs. This is a war being fought almost exclusively in the poorest parts of the country. People like Maria are used as its agents. 

Duterte's war on drugs 

Since 1 July 

drug deaths
  • 10,153 drug dealers arrested 
  • 1,160 deaths still being investigated 
  • 756 suspects killed by police 
  • 300 officers suspected of involvement 
But it is a popular war. In Tondo, the shantytown area next to Manila port, most of the residents applaud the president's tough campaign. They blamed the "shabu" scourge for rising crime, and for destroying lives, although some worried that the campaign was getting out of hand, and that innocent victims were being caught up in it. 
One of those being hunted by the death squads is Roger - again not his real name.
He became addicted to shabu as a young man, he says, while working as a casual labourer. Like many addicts he began dealing to support his habit, as it was a more comfortable job than labouring. He worked a lot with corrupt police officers, sometimes taking portions of the drug hauls they confiscated in raids to sell.

Roger, not his real name, is a drug dealer and an addict.Image copyrightJONATHAN HEAD

Now he is on the run, moving from place to place every few days to avoid being tracked down and killed.
"Every day, every hour, I cannot get the fear out of my chest. It's really tiring and scary to hide all the time. You don't know if the person right in front of you will inform on you, or if the one facing you might be a killer. It's hard to sleep at night. One small noise, I wake up. And the hardest part of all is I don't know who to trust, I don't know which direction to go every day, looking for a place to hide."

A woman sweeping the front of her house in Happyland a dump site in Tondo, ManilaImage copyrightCARLO GABUCO

He does feel guilt about his role in the trade of this destructive drug.
"I do truly believe that I have committed sins. Big time. I have done many awful things. I've wronged a lot people because they've become addicted, because I'm one of the many who sells them drugs. But what I can say is that not everyone who uses drugs is capable of committing those crimes, of stealing, and eventually killing. I'm also an addict but I don't kill. I'm an addict but I don't steal."
He has sent his children to live with his wife's family in the countryside, to try to stop them being exposed to the drug epidemic. He estimates that between 30% and 35% of people in his neighbourhood are addicts.

A girl sleeping on the side of the street in Parola Tondo Area, Manila CityImage copyrightCARLO GABUCO

So when President Duterte stated several times during his presidential campaign that he would kill drug dealers, throw their bodies into Manila Bay, did Roger not take that threat seriously?
"Yes, but I thought he would go after the big syndicates who manufacture the drugs, not the small time dealers like me. I wish I could turn the clock back. But it is too late for me. I cannot surrender, because if I do the police will probably kill me."

Many families living inside a warehouse beside a dumpsite in Happyland Tondo, Manila.
Maria, not her real name, now carries out contract killings as part of the government-sanctioned war on drugs.

She is part of a hit team that includes three women, who are valued because they can get close to their victims without arousing the same suspicion a man would.

Since President Duterte was elected, and urged citizens and police to kill drug dealers who resisted arrest, Maria has killed five more people, shooting them 
all in the head. 

Maria, not her real name, is an assassin for hire.
She is part of a hit team that includes three women, who are valued because they can get close to their victims without arousing the same suspicion a man would
Maria also regrets the choice she has made. 
"I feel guilty and it is hard on my nerves. I don't want the families of those I have killed to come after me."
She worries about what her children will think. "I do not want them to come back at us and say that they got to live because we killed for money." Already her older boy asks questions about how she and her husband earn so much. 
She has one more hit, one more contract to fulfill, and would like that to be her last. But her boss has threatened to kill anyone who leaves the team. She feels trapped. She asks her priest for forgiveness at confession in church, but does not dare to tell him what she does. 

Homes in Tondo, ManilaImage copyrightCARLO GABUCO

Does she feel any justification carrying out President Duterte's campaign to terrorise the drug trade into submission?
"We only talk about the mission, how to carry it out," she says. "When it is finished we never talk about it again."

But she wrings her hands as she speaks and keeps her eyes shut tight, pursued by thoughts she does not want to share
Maria and her husband come from an impoverished neighbourhood of Manila and had no regular income before agreeing to become contract killers. They earn up to 20,000 Philippines pesos ($430; £327) per hit, which is shared between three or four of them. That is a fortune for low-income Filipinos, but now it looks as if Maria has no way out.

President Duterte came to power promising to crack down on crime and drugs

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte attends the 115th Police Service Anniversary at the Philippine National Police (PNP) headquarters in Manila on August 17, 2016.

 Contract killing is nothing new in the Philippines. But the hit squads have never been as busy as they are now. President Duterte has sent out an unambiguous message.
Ahead of his election, he promised to kill 100,000 criminals in his first six months in office.
And he has warned drug dealers in particular: "Do not destroy my country, because I will kill you." 
Last weekend he reiterated that blunt view, as he defended the extrajudicial killings of suspected criminals.
"Do the lives of 10 of these criminals really matter? If I am the one facing all this grief, would 100 lives of these idiots mean anything to me?”   

Originally posted on Edited for and by adamfoxie*blog

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