Philippines has highest rate of shabu use in East Asia

The Philippines has the highest abuse rate for methamphetamine hydrochloride, or shabu, in East Asia, according to the latest Unit­ed Nations World Drug Report. The state department also dis­closed that 2.1 percent of Filipinos aged 16 to 64 were using shabu, and “domestic consumption of methamphetamine and marijuana continued to be the main drug threats in the Philippines.” It also reported that in 2011, “the issue of Philippine citizens being used as drug couriers by transnational drug trafficking organizations gained national attention when (four) Filipinos were executed in China for drug trafficking. ”“Philippine citizens have also been arrested in other countries while attempting to smuggle cocaine from South America into Asia, as well as methamphetamine within South­east Asia,” it said.

Citing Philippine Drug Enforce­ment Agency records, it reported that last year PDEA “conducted 9,850 anti-illegal drug operations resulting in the arrest of 8,491 suspects and 9,995 cases being filed.”

Philippine authorities “seized 250 kilos of methamphetamine valued at $68 million (about P2.92 billion); 4.8 million marijuana plants and seedlings and 818 ki­los of marijuana with a total value of $17.4 million (P748 million); 17,222 grams of cocaine worth $2 million (P86 million); and 960 Ecstasy tablets valued at $26,790 (P1.15 million).”

According to the state depart­ment, “ethnic Chinese organized crime groups continue to be the primary organizers and financiers of methamphetamine trafficking in the Philippines.”
“Law enforcement agencies, however, noted the new trend of African-produced methamphet­amine being smuggled into the Philippines through the airports for onward distribution through­out Southeast Asia. PDEA and the National Bureau of Investigation conducted investigations that led to the arrest of several members of African drug trafficking organi­zations in Malaysia,” it said.

The authorities also have “made large seizures of bulk high-grade methamphetamine that appeared to have been produced outside the Philippines and smuggled in via cargo shipments. This supports law enforcers’ findings of the con­tinuing decline in industrial-size methamphetamine laboratories in the Philippines itself due to im­proved detection and law enforce­ment efforts. PDEA also seized six smaller kitchen-type clandestine methamphetamine laboratories.”
On the other hand, marijuana cultivation in the country “occurs in remote mountainous regions of Luzon and Mindanao.”