THE Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency says “fake” and adulterated methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu is being sold on the streets.
PDEA Director-General Aaron Aquino said the intensified anti-drug campaign had constricted the supply of shabu in the market, making it expensive and forcing drug syndicates to sell adulterated shabu to their suppliers, distributors and pushers.
The scarcity of shabu was brought about by the dismantling of a number of clandestine laboratories used in the manufacture of the illegal drug.
The training of PDEA personnel to detect concealed illegal drugs that led to the interception and interdiction of drug contraband entering the country through airports, seaports and parcel services also contributed to the dwindling supply of shabu.
“Shabu is becoming scarce. Pushers are now resorting to using extenders such as crushed “tawas” [alum], bathroom deodorizer, crystal candies and other chemical substances in shabu preparation,” Aquino said in a statement over the weekend.
“PDEA is not discounting the possibility that there is also a proliferation of adulterated cocaine, ecstasy and other psychoactive substances mixed with dangerous chemicals being sold in the streets. These fake illegal drugs can be potentially fatal to users.”
On July 10, two people were arrested in raid by the PDEA Special Enforcement Service in a house doubling as a drug den in Barangay Addition Hills, Mandaluyong City.
Ten transparent plastic sachets containing about 66.9 grams of suspected shabu and drug materials were seized during the operation.
“However, after the completion of forensic examination by PDEA Laboratory Service, the results revealed that the confiscated drug evidence was part shabu and part oxalic acid,” Aquino said.
Oxalic acid is crystalline in form and used as cleaning or bleaching agent to remove rust and stains. The intake of small amounts or concentration of oxalic acid would take years to develop side effects.
However, large amounts would result in kidney failure and gastrointestinal disorders leading to death. Oxalic crystal forms inside the body and later on become kidney stones.
Oxalic acid gained prominence following the death of two people after they drank milk tea in Blumentritt, Manila, on April 9, 2015.
“PDEA warns the public of the danger of sniffing impure substances. Extenders, like oxalic acid, make shabu doubly dangerous for users,” Aquino said.