Are users shifting to a cheaper drug?

THEY thought it was Nubain but it was not.

A box full of 799 vials initially believed to be Nubain caused a stir in the Parian Police Station after it was turned over by the tanods in Barangay Kamagayan at 10:44 a.m. yesterday.

“Nagtambay mi sa among post sa V-Hire terminal unya naay niduol nakong laki gahubo og sanina unya niana siya nako ‘Sir wala koy labot!’ (We were guarding our post at the V-Hire terminal when a man without a shirt on approached me and said, ‘Sir, I’m not involved with that!’),” Charles Angga, a barangay tanod, told Cebu.

The unidentified man, estimated to be in his 20s, then dropped the box and ran away.

“Amo pa unta tong gisuwayan og gukod unya kalit man kaayo ang panghitabo maong wala mi kaapas niya (We tried to chase him but we lost him),” Angga said.

A few vials fell and the police were surprised to find out they were ampoules.

Upon closer inspection, they saw the vials were labeled as Ranitidine with the brand Rantac, which was medication for ulcer and hyperacidity.

At first, the tanods thought it was Nubain, an injectable drug said to be an alternative to shabu, which doubled

in price in the government’s intensified anti-illegal drugs campaign.

The package contained 70 boxes. It was brought to the Parian Police Station to be forwarded to the crime laboratory for further investigation.

It lacked one box, which the tanods believe was taken by drug addicts who consumed it.

Its side effects include chest pain, fever, shortness of breath, fast or slow heart rate, vision problem and nausea.

The vials that were recovered were brown while the Nubain ampoules that are often confiscated are white.

According to the regional director of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) 7, Yogi Ruiz, Ranitidine is not an illegal drug.

“No. Dili siya apil sa dangerous drugs list and sa controlled medicines,” Ruiz said in a text message to Cebu.

But why would somebody easily throw it away in front of a tanod?

One of the theories of police was that it was mistaken as Nubain because of its packaging when it was taken from the source.

“Basin nasipyat ba (Maybe they got it wrong),” PO2 Leopoldo Pullido said.

Pullido said the seized Ranitidine was manufactured on September 2013 and is to expire on September 2018.

In the Department of Health (DOH) price reference index on 2015, a 2mL Ampuole of Ranitidine is worth P35 at its most expensive.

According to a health website, Ranitidine is used to reduce the acid amount stomach produces.


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