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Tuesday, April 23, 2019
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Cabaero: Ecstasy, adjusting campaigns

Beyond 30

GOING after traders of party drugs will require something extra from enforcers out to stop the spread of illegal drug activities.

The same techniques in going after traders of shabu or cocaine may be applied in the scramble to get Ecstasy pills suppliers. But the difference lies in the fact that party drugs are not mainstream or available at any time or in street corners. Party drugs are expensive, carried or used by people who could afford a minimum of a thousand pesos a pop, and are used during parties or concerts or in clubs and mostly by the young.

Party drugs are shared within groups of friends or a community of concert goers singing and bouncing as one out to have fun. They know each other. It’s not the same in the shabu trade where the venue is anywhere outside of public view and usage is anonymous.

Law enforcers determined to go after party drugs should target recreational nightlife venues such as dance clubs, pubs, music festivals or concerts. It is not enough to target street corners or the inside areas of Talisay City or San Fernando or Cordova. To go after party drugs is to go to places young people go to for a night of fun.

The ways young people get party drugs were revealed after the arrest of businessman Kenneth Dong who police said was one of the suppliers of party drugs in Cebu.

Cebu City Police Office Director Royina Garma said she received a report that showed Dong was involved in the distribution of Ecstasy tablets. Ecstasy is the street name for the drug 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine. It is not a brand name; it’s just how it’s called by those who know it.

Garma said the reports she got were that Dong used to own a club in Mandaue City.

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency 7 and the police are watching clubs in Cebu frequented by rich teenagers and where party drugs are reportedly being sold.

Dong was arrested in Muntinlupa last Monday, Feb. 4, in relation to his allegedly acting as middleman in the P6.4-billion shabu shipment that slipped past the Bureau of Customs in 2017.

Another person arrested, this time in Cebu last Thursday night, Feb. 7, was a call center agent who tried to sell Ecstasy tablets to a police agent. Police said this person was believed to be one of the suppliers of Ecstasy during the Sinulog season last month. A 19-year-old woman died at a pre-Sinulog music festival after she reportedly took a party drug.

The discovery of Dong’s alleged involvement, the arrests made of sellers of party drugs, the ways such drugs are shared and consumed, and the death of a young woman all point to the gravity of the problem. How to stop the spread of Ecstasy and other party drugs would require an adjustment in the anti-drug campaigns of government.

Law enforcers have to adjust their prevention activities to the ways these drugs are being sold, shared and used. (ninicab@sunstar.com.ph)


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