THE use of injectable painkiller Nubain is now more rampant in Cebu City as supply of shabu has become limited due to the National Government’s crackdown on the illegal drug trade.
This was disclosed by Philippine Drug Enforcement (PDEA) 7 Director Yogi Filemon Ruiz, who met with Mayor Tomas Osmeña at City Hall yesterday to update him on the city’s drug situation.
“I’ve received alarming results that shabu users are shifting to Nubain. And those barangays involved in distributing shabu are now stocking up on Nubain,” Ruiz said in Cebuano.
Ruiz said they’ve conducted intelligence monitoring in the past two weeks.
Nubain, he said, is being sold for only around P100 to P120 per ampule.
It is cheaper compared to shabu, which is now being sold as much as P6,000 per gram from P1,500 per gram.
“We’re also verifying, but apparently the Nubain being sold now is generic and most probably smuggled from Pakistan,” Ruiz said in Cebuano.
Ruiz attributed the limited supply of shabu and the spike in price to President Rodrigo Duterte’s fight against illegal drugs.
He said PDEA will check different barangays where Nubain is proliferating.
He, however, refused to divulge where these areas are until they make some arrests.
“That’s what the mayor ordered. He doesn’t care who they are as long as we arrest them,” Ruiz said.
Nubain, or nalbuphine hydrochloride, is an analgesic. A medical website states that it blocks certain receptor sites in the central nervous system to help decrease pain.
In 2011, Nubain was reclassified as a dangerous drug and those caught carrying it can be charged with violating Republic Act 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, which carries the penalty of life imprisonment.
Before, the injectable painkiller could be purchased with a prescription from a licensed medical practitioner.
Ruiz said PDEA did not focus so much on Nubain because the agency was concentrating on shabu. That has changed with the recent development.
In his news conference yesterday, Osmeña said the City Government will support PDEA in its fight against illegal drugs.
He also said he will give PDEA personnel a monthly incentive of P2,000, the same amount the City gives to the police.
Since budget for the incentive allowance of the PDEA is not covered in this year’s annual budget of the City, Osmeña said he had already asked Councilor Dave Tumulak to file a resolution for its inclusion.
He said he wants the incentives released as soon as possible. He won’t have any problem if it’ll be retroactive.