Shabu users shift to Nubain — PDEA7

By: Jose Santino S. Bunachita August 30,2016 - 10:24 PM

No amount of illegal drug operations by the Duterte administration can take a persistent addict away from his bad habit if he is determined to find a way.

A report from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA-7) to Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña said that with shabu (methamphetamine) supplies going down and their prices soaring higher, drug users and pushers are now resorting to a cheaper alternative — Nubain.

According to PDEA-7 Director Yogi Ruiz, in a brief meeting at the mayor’s office, government’s war against shabu had brought up prices of the illegal drug to P6,000 per gram from P1,500/gm before.

On the other hand, one ampule of Nubain (nalbuphine hydrochloride), which is an analgesic or painkiller, costs between P100 to P120, said Ruiz.

But while Nubain is much cheaper than shabu, it is also more destructive as it is administered through rapid injection using a syringe.

“As a result, when injecting, especially if the syringe is being shared among users, magkapasahay og sakit (diseases can be passed on). If one has HIV or AIDS, malaria or hepatitis, this can be passed (on) to the other person,” Ruiz told reporters.

Quoting PDEA-7 intelligence reports based on a two-week monitoring period, Ruiz observed that barangays in Cebu City, which used to be involved in the distribution of shabu, are stocking up on Nubain and selling them to drug users.

“We’re still verifying the source of the Nubain being sold now. It is generic, so most probably it is smuggled coming from Pakistan,” he said.

For his part, Osmeña assured that the city government will continue to assist PDEA in combating the new trend in illegal drug use here.

“There’s a trend now, the drug problem is coming back. But now in the form of Nubain,” the mayor said in a press conference yesterday.

“Well, I told them (PDEA-7) I’ll help them. We are giving them vehicles, incentive allowance,” Osmeña added.

Ruiz admitted that previously, PDEA did not focus on going after sellers of Nubain since they were considered “street level” or small time pushers.

PDEA was more focused on high value targets involving the shabu trade, Ruiz said.

Ruiz said he personally went to visit Osmeña to report about the new illegal drug trend in order to update the mayor.

Osmeña, according to Ruiz, ordered PDEA-7 to arrest all of those selling and using the illegal drug regardless of which barangay was involved.

Pressed by reporters on which barangays were being currently monitored by PDEA-7, Ruiz declined to comment.

Osmeña, meanwhile, asked Cebu City Councilor David Tumulak, the recently appointed deputy mayor for police matters, to draft a resolution which will include a budget for a P4,000 monthly allowance which the mayor intends to give to PDEA operatives similar to the one given to members of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

According to Osmeña, this will be the first time for the Cebu City government to hand out allowances to PDEA since the city only gives to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), police and fiscals.

The mayor said that he wanted the budget to be approved by the city council as soon as possible so that it can be released to PDEA personnel immediately.

It can even be retroactive, he said.

PDEA also recently received two vehicles from the city government to help them with their operations.

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