PDEA notes rapid rise in ecstasy smuggling
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) noted a rapid increase in the smuggling of the party drug ecstasy in the country, due to the pandemic and the rise of illegal drug trafficking activities online.
“Smuggling of ecstasy has been expanding in the last three years,” PDEA chief Director General Wilkins Villanueva said in a statement on Friday. “It grew from 13,000 tablets in 2019 to more than 74,000 tablets in 2021 — a significant 460 percent increase.”
He attributed the rise in the use of the drug to the “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.”
According to PDEA, ecstasy is the go-to illegal drug among young people during rave parties, recreational activities, and nightclubbing.
Villanueva said the increase in smuggled ecstasy entering the country was confirmed by the seizures of such drugs by the PDEA and the Bureau of Customs and other law enforcement agencies in international airports, seaports, and postal offices.
According to the PDEA, the country’s supply of ecstasy mostly came from European countries, such as The Netherlands, Germany, and Belgium. Smugglers use the country’s mail and parcel system to bring in the drugs.