DATE: March 25, 2022

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) noted a rapid increase in the smuggling incidence of Methylenedioxy-methamphetamine (MDMA) popularly known as Ecstasy, in the country.

“Smuggling of Ecstasy is expanding in the last three years. It grew from 13,000 tablets in 2019 to more than 74,000 tablets in 2021- a significant 460 percent increase,” said PDEA Director General Undersecretary Wilkins M. Villanueva.

The PDEA chief said following demands for the use of party drugs due to psychological and mental health effects the pandemic has brought to some people, and the increasing popularity of the internet as a convenient way of obtaining drugs, were the factors that contributed to the smuggling of the party drug. These were confirmed by the seizures of the PDEA, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and other law enforcement agencies protecting the international airports, seaports and postal offices.

 Based on recent interdiction operations, the supply of Ecstasy comes from European countries such as Netherlands, Germany, and Belgium. Ecstasy smugglers use the country’s mail and parcel system to bring in the drug.

“They employ drug couriers to transport drugs to the intended buyers, or distribute the drugs through social media using secured accounts, a proven and efficient method to avoid detection,” Villanueva said.

In October 2021, 100 pieces of Ecstasy tablets worth ₱6.5 million from Germany were seized. The shipment was concealed in a parcel covered with tarpaulin sheets, two improvised pouches containing a total of 3,865 pieces of hexagon and skull tablets at the Philippine Postal Corporation Central Mail Exchange Center in Pasay City.

In the same month, authorities intercepted 100 pieces of Ecstasy tablets at the Manila Central Post Office in Liwasang Bonifacio, Intramuros, Manila.

In November 2021, joint elements of PDEA-Clark Interdiction Task Force and BOC conducted a controlled delivery operation in Barangay Tatalon, Quezon City resulting in the seizure of 9,948 pieces of Ecstasy tablets, with an estimated street value of ₱17 million.

In January 2022, a shipment from Zaandam, Netherlands containing six plastic pouches of 3,054 pieces of blue and pink Ecstasy tablets, were intercepted at the Port of Clark, Pampanga.

Ecstasy is the go-to illegal drug among young people during rave parties, recreational activities and night-clubbing. Most ecstasy users are not aware of the dosage that a pill or tablet contains. Medical studies show that taking the party drug can potentially lead to serious health problems or may cause sudden death due to drug overdose.

PDEA Airport Drug Interdiction Task Group, in collaboration with the BOC, Philippine Postal Corporation and other law enforcement agencies, continue to boost border security coordination and international cooperation to quash Ecstasy smuggling in the country.

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