CEBU, Philippines — Authorities are keeping an eye on a more potent variety of the recreational drug ecstasy as parties are starting to roll out in Cebu City for the Sinulog Festival.
Wardley Getalla, regional director of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, said this variety is called “crystal ecstasy” with the street name “molly.”
“Mas potent ito at mas mabilis ma-absorb ng katawan…mas malakas ito sa ecstasy kasi kaya usually nagkakaroon ng report ng kamatayan sa paggamit nito sapagkat hindi nila matatansya ang dosage kasi nga mas malakas ito sa ecstasy tablet (This is more potent and gets absorbed easily by the body… this is stronger that’s why there have been reports of death since they could not estimate the dosage),” Getalla said.
Getalla said it is important for the public to be aware that the ecstasy drug now comes in three forms – liquid, tablet, and crystal – so that spotting them would be easier. The good news, he said, is that K9 dogs can detect the drug easily.
He said PDEA-7 will intensify its campaign against ecstasy during the Sinulog through “Oplan Ecstano” and will monitor the possible entry of the drug at parties.
He said some organizers have already reached out to PDEA on how to keep the drug away from their events.
“May nag co-coordinate na sa atin at gusto din nila na ma-ensure na walang papasok na droga sa kanilang event area. Maganda naman ang koordinasyon, magpapadala kami ng K9 kapag meron silang request (Some have coordinated with us and they want to ensure that no drug will enter their event area. The coordination was good. We will send K9 units if they request),” Getalla said.
He said event organizers and establishments will be held accountable if the illegal party drug will slip past their security.
“Kung makikita natin na meron silang kapabayaan at hindi sinasagawang security measures at other preventive measures, maari (They can be held accountable if we see that they failed to put preventive measures in place),” Getalla said.
He said the biggest challenge to authorities and organizers will be huge crowds that will attend the parties, thus, help from the public in general in reporting the drug will be most useful.
He also encouraged event organizers and establishments to request for the K9 units themselves as the police do not have a list of all events. Besides, the police do not have enough K9 units.
Last year, one Ashley Abad died of alleged drug overdose during one party during the Sinulog. Homicide charges were filed against her boyfriend, Nel Spencer Tiu, who according to reports ‘induced and pressured” Ashley into taking one whole drop of “silver skull,” a term coined for ecstasy. JMO (FREEMAN)