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Philippines concerned over illicit fentanyl imports

THE STAR/LAOTIAN TIMES – The Philippines raised concerns about the misuse of fentanyl illegally imported from Laos, Myanmar, and Thailand.

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) deemed the use of fentanyl as a party drug in the country as an “emerging drug problem” due to its dangerous side effects.

The drug typically utilised in the treatment of cancer patients, is being used as a recreational narcotic, often leading to devastating outcomes.

As an analgesic, fentanyl is 100 times more potent than morphine and 50 times more potent than heroin.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States (US) also pointed out Fentanyl as a primary contributor to the opioid crisis in the country and has led to an epidemic of numerous overdose deaths.

PHOTO: FREEPIK

PDEA Director-General Moro Virgilio Lazo is taking steps to track down the source of the fentanyl supply in the country. “We are closely coordinating with our foreign counterparts to help us with information gathering,” Lazo said recently according to the Manila Times.

Lazo said the Philippines has been the transshipment point for international illegal drug smuggling efforts.

Manila has seen illicit drugs from Laos, Burma, and Thailand being sold in the city while the remaining supplies are smuggled to Europe, the US, Australia, and New Zealand.

Moreover, fentanyl is relatively easy to manufacture, making it simple for traffickers to produce and smuggle, as a small amount is sufficient to produce a significant effect.

According to a report last week, Thai anti-narcotics and customs officials seized 510.7 tonnes of aniline destined for Laos for not having a correct import permit.

Although the company importing the drug said it was intended for the production of cosmetics, it was reported that the amount of confiscated aniline had the potential to yield approximately 85,000 kilogrammes of fentanyl.

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