The use of party drugs by young people is a common occurrence in some entertainment venues and events in Cebu, according to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) 7.
Leia Albiar-Alcantara, a PDEA information officer 7, said she was receiving reports that party drugs, including Ecstasy tablets, were sold at events such as concerts, discos and parties. But supply is not as big as shabu, as party drugs are expensive, Alcantara said.
"One pill is reported to be worth around 1,500 to 3,000 euros," she says.
Recognizing suppliers is a challenge as they have a network of loyal patrons, she said. The drug dealers' party, she says, does not deal with strangers because she fears that there may be undercover anti-drug agents.
In January 2018, the police seized ecstasy from two businessmen in Barang Alang-Alang, the city of Mandawa.
Meanwhile, the family of 19-year-old Ashley Abad, who reportedly died of an overdose, has agreed to leave his body to an autopsy.
This is the only way to determine what kind of drug was used by Abad during a concert in Cebu City on January 19, "said Mabolo Chief of Police, Dinosa Alaras.
Alaras said they also interviewed the parents of Abad's friend.
– He does not cooperate. His family said he would wait for a court order and consult their lawyer, "Alaras said.
In connection with this development, the PDEA 7 denied the information circulating online about the availability of a "fast strawberry" medicine, which allegedly resembles strawberry sweets that appear and extinguish in the mouth.
The director of the PDEA 7 Director-General Wardley Getalla, in a press statement published on Friday, January 25, said the reports were unfounded.
He said there were no verified reports or seizures of this kind of drug in the country.
PDA Director-General Aaron Aquino said in a separate interview that they had not yet arrested a person selling a strawberry hurry.
The effects of party drugs vary, depending on the type, according to Alcantara.
Alcantara said that not all party drugs are stimulants that can cause consumers to be warned and put them in good mood at an event.
"Other are depressants that can trigger feelings that are calm and dreamy, while some are hallucinogens that can enhance sensations, be they auditory or visual," she says.
She said the most common drug in the country is ecstasy, stimulant and hallucinogen.
Some users mix Ecstasy with shampoo, alcohol and Viagra (a medicine to improve erectile function) for a stronger effect.
"If you mix drugs and alcohol, the effect is dangerous because it can create a chemical reaction, especially if the body has an allergic reaction to it," says Alcantara.
A person who uses stimulants will drink several glasses of water because he will often feel thirsty.
"Dehydration is dangerous because it can make the body work faster. Authorities will operate in double time. That's why the user will not get tired, "Alcantara said.
She said the color of the party drug was only part of the design and branding. It also comes in the form of tablets or pills.
"If it's colorful, teenagers will easily get to it," she said.
Getalla said there are different types of Ecstasy tablets on the market, and chemists are probably experimenting to create stronger side-effects to cater for a new generation of consumers who want a stronger blow.
The PDEA works closely with other government agencies such as the Customs Bureau, the Philippine Port Authority and Cebu Port Authority, as well as with foreign partners to ensure that no new types of illegal drugs enter the country. (With AYB of SuperBalita Cebu, KAL)