Sinas denies rise in party drug use: Party places are closed

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PNP chief Gen. Debold Sinas (File photo from the PNP Public Information Office)

MANILA, Philippines — There’s no rise in the use of party drugs, contrary to a claim being made by some, Gen. Debold Sinas, chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), said on Monday.

“Actually, during this pandemic, it seems to have gone down — because there are no more parties,” Sinas said, speaking partly in Filipino. “Have you noticed? I’ll speak on the experience of [operatives]… We made several arrests, but they’re mostly [using] shabu and marijuana. The party drugs suddenly disappeared.”

Most party drugs, he pointed out, are used in “high-profile parties” in places like discos, many of which have shut down due to the pandemic.

“The gatherings have disappeared. S0 now you’ll notice, it’s very seldom that we catch people,” Sinas said.

Crystal meth, locally known as shabu, remains the most prevalent illegal drug in use, he said, citing the latest survey done by the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) for the PNP.

Marijuana is in second place, and party drugs like ecstasy are in third.

“Shabu remains as number one because it’s really addictive,” Sinas said.

In fact, shabu has replaced marijuana in the top slot.

In the 2019 report of the DDB, marijuana was the most abused substance with 57 percent of drug dependents using it, compared to just 35 percent for shabu.

However, the same survey also noted that shabu was the most well-known illegal drug back then, with 47.9 percent of the public aware of the substance, whereas only 35 percent were aware of marijuana use.

Both drugs have been the most commonly seized illegal drugs — with a value estimated at millions of pesos – in stings conducted by the PNP and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).

The operations included the uprooting of marijuana plantations in the Cordillera area.

The campaign against illegal drugs has remained one of the main thrusts of the Duterte administration even during the pandemic.

— With a report from Zac Sarao, trainee

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