Cebu City police unfamiliar with Ashtec -10 use, sale

Posted on October 20, 2012

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No arrests have been made yet of persons using the injectable drug Ashtect-10 in Cebu City, where police said they were aware it was circulating in barangay Kamagayan but don’t know much yet about the trend.

Chief Insp. Romeo Santander, chief of the City Police Intelligence Branch (CIB), said he woud meet soon with the Philippine Drug Enforcment Agency (PDEA), which confirmed the entry of a new drug in the blackmarket that appears to be Nalbuphine Hydrochloride, the same chemical makeup as Nubain.

Santander said that based on their surveillance of the city’s 80 barangays in Cebu city, it was only in Kamagayan where Ashtec-10 was found to be used.

A laboratory section head of the Bureau of Food and Drugs (BFAD) in Central Visayas said Ashtec-10 was not a registered drug and hasn’t been examined in their laboratries.

PDEA-7 legal officer Mauro Licen said PDEA agents conducted an operation in barangay Basak Pardo, Cebu City last August which led to the confiscation of Ashtec-10 ampules but they were unable to arrest tthe pushers..

Licen said the supplier of Asthtec-10 was based in Butuan in Mindanao and its manufacturing company was in Pakistan.

A registered nurse was arrested in Talisay City last Oct. 21, 2011 in a mall parking lot for allegedly selling P1.8 milllion worth of Ashtec-10 following a two-week surveillance by the Cebu Provincial Investigation and Detective Management. CDN reported in Oct. 31 that charges were filed against the nurse, Leonarda Lim.

Licen said investigators found out that the drug was “shifted through LBC”, a private courier company.

After this, he said PDEA conducted seminars in the Visayas and Mindanao on how to detect packages carrying drug paraphernalia or dangerous drugs sent by commercial couriers.

Nubain, a synthetic opioid used in hospitals for pain management, was reclassified as a “dangerous drug” by the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) in 2011 after the injectable drug fell into the hands of drug addicts in major cities around the country.

Nubain abuse has been well documented since the 1990s, prompting Cebu City to pass an ordinance regulating its sale ahead of the DDB’s policy.

Only patients with a special S-2 prescription issued by a physician are allowed to buy limited amounts but ampules still find their way to the blackmarket.

Licen of PDEA said they had samples of confiscated Astec-10 examined in the PNP Crime Laboratory and confirmed that it had similar chemical components as Nubain.

The box of Ashtec-10 ampules describes itself as Nallbuphine Hydrochloride.

Attention to the new drug trend was called by City Councilor Michael Ralota, president of the Assoication of Barangay Councilors (ABC), who showed Cebu Daily News an ampule given to him by Kamagayan barangay captain Celestino Avil last week.

“Bagong gamit sa mga adik-adik. Daghang baligya,” he told Cebu Daily News after meeting with seven barangay captains in a task force meeting in the downtown barangay of Parian.

The ampule reportedly came from an addict picked up at random along D. Jakosalem St. in Cebu City.

The package of Ashtec-10 says each 1-ml ampule as 10 mg of Nalbuphine HCl.

As a “dangerous drug”, Nalbuphine HCl and all its brands are strictly regulated.

All importers, manufacturers, wholesalers/distributors/traders and retailers of this drug are therefore required to register and apply for license with the Compliance Service (CS), the regulatory arm of PDEA.

DDB posted an advisory in their website that the S2 “yellow pad prescription” for medical practitioners issued by the Department of Health (DOH) is out of stock as of October 17, 2012.

Licen said the “yellow prescription given by doctors to pharmacies are strictly monitored by the PDEA compliance section.”

He said they require pharmacies to submit an annual report of dangerous drugs use for proper monitoring. /Chito O. Aragon and Tweeny M. Malinao, Correspondents

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