AMID the government’s relentless campaign against illegal drugs, it seems big-time drug syndicates are trying a new tactic by diversifying to the manufacture and sale of other popular drugs.

In two successive days, or on April 12 and 13, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency conducted separate raids on clandestine drug laboratories in Hingoso Farm, Barangay Sto. Niño, Ibaan, Batangas and a three-storey residence along Dela Cruz Street, Barangay Tinajeros, Malabon City.

What is alarming was that chemicals and equipment seized indicate the lab was not only meant for the making of shabu but also of the party drug Ecstasy.

PDEA said that in the past, drug syndicates used to smuggle into the country Ecstasy in both tablet and liquid form. The discovery of the large amount of chemicals for Ecstasy manufacture indicates a shift from smuggling to manufacturing locally.

Although the top drugs of choice are shabu and marijuana, the Dangerous Drugs Board included Ecstasy use in the top three.

With a large youth population and a growing middle class in the country, the potential for increased demand for such a party drug is present. Besides, the government’s anti-drug campaign has focused largely on shabu and marijuana.

There were documented deaths due to party drug use, such as the five fatalities in the “CloseUp Forever Summer” party in 2016 in Pasay City.

Lesser known are sexual abuse cases resulting from the use of Ecstasy, which has gained a reputation as a ‘date rape’ drug, backed by studies showing that its use is associated with risky sexual behavior.

Our authorities deserve credit for dismantling the shabu and Ecstasy laboratories. But they should not relax their guard otherwise the drug syndicates will romp with delight from the windfall of their criminal activities.

Give them agony instead.

p: wjg