PDEA wary of shabu substitute

Posted at 09/16/2012 9:19 PM | Updated as of 09/16/2012 9:19 PM

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) is wary of substance abusers using “mephentermine” as a potential substitute for the drug methamphetamine hydrochloride, or shabu.

PDEA director general Undersecretary Jose S. Gutierrez said in a statement that mephentermine is a stimulant with similar effects and characteristics as shabu -- but cheaper.

Mephentermine is not included in the list of dangerous drugs under Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, however.

“PDEA has already lobbied and sought proper representations with the Dangerous Drugs Board to include mephentermine in the list of dangerous substances,” Gutierrez said.

PDEA said large doses of mephentermine can affect the brain’s central nervous system and increase blood pressure and cardiac output.

While the effects of mephentermine are less than that of methamphetamine, but PDEA said its use can lead to amphetamine-type dependence.

Pushers also use mephentermine in the illegal drugs trade to mislead authorities into thinking that the drugs purchased from them in buy-bust operations are shabu. PDEA said the two substances have similar appearances.

Gutierrez said he hopes mephentermine will immediately be included in the list of dangerous drugs, since the arrested offenders have been released as the substance has not been made illegal.