07 July 2005

SHABU Contributor

Shabu is the term given locally to methamphetamine. It is a synthetic powerful stimulant that has been the subject of many news items, mostly concerning its illegal use. In my high school days, the drug mostly abused was marijuana. It is still is, I think, to this day, but Shabu has already overshadowed it. Even those illegal drug users in Thailand, Japan, Taiwan, and Korea choose methamamphetamine as their number one drug of choice. Recent news show that the US hasn't been spared:
EVANSVILLE, Indiana -- The crippling reach of methamphetamine abuse has become the nation's leading drug problem affecting local law enforcement agencies, according to a survey of 500 sheriff's departments in 45 states.

More than half of the sheriffs interviewed for a National Association of Counties survey released yesterday said they considered meth the most serious problem facing their departments.

"We're finding out that this is bigger problem than we thought," said Executive Director Larry Naake. "Folks at the state and federal level need to know about this."

About 90 percent of those interviewed reported increases in meth-related arrests in their counties during the last three years.

[Boston Globe, Jul 6 2005]

A year ago, I discovered that astoundingly, the Philippines has transformed from being a mere user to manufacturer of this illicit substance. We are now a major contributor to overall worldwide distribution:
THE PHILIPPINES is one of the world's three largest producers of methamphetamine, locally known as "shabu," according to the latest World Drug Report of the United Nations.

The report, commissioned by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and which was made available only this month, said Burma (Myanmar), China and the Philippines were the main sources of shabu.

It said most of Burma's supplies go to Thailand, which has the largest percentage of methamphetamine users in the world.

Shabu produced in the Philippines reaches as far as Australia and the United States, the report said.

[INQ7.net, July 19 2004 ]

For North America, the major contributors are the US and Mexico, and to a lesser extent, the Philippines.

The same report said that methamphetamine use was " down in the Philippines as well as in Hong Kong and Indonesia" but that "drug abuse was up in China and Singapore."

Based on 2000 figures, 2.8 percent of Filipinos aged 15 to 24 were shabu users. I have heard news that even office workers and executives are also hooked. So, in the face of the current problems (read: political turmoil, economic woes, etc.) we now have, I'd say the real figure is higher than reported.

Alarming, indeed.

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