As ‘shabu’ price rises, Ecstasy use up

The trade in crystal methamphetamine hydrochloride or “shabu” in the Philippines has grown into a P1 billion-a-day industry, but the drug has now become more expensive, making it “the poor man’s cocaine no more,” antinarcotics officials and international drug reports said. The price of shabu has doubled to between P8,000 and P10,000 per gram since law enforcers dismantled several “mega-laboratories” in 2006 and 2007.

But government successes in curbing shabu production have been offset by another problem: Users are now turning to the amphetamine-type stimulant Ecstasy, which sells for P750 to P800 per tablet, and cocaine, which sells for P2,500 per gram, the kinds of drugs that were seized from “Alabang Boys” Richard Brodett, Jorge Joseph and Joseph Ramirez Tecson by agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in a drug-bust operation last September.

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