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PDEA wary over use of mephentermine as shabu substitute

By Philippine Information Agency (PIA 8)
September 19, 2012

GOVERNMENT CENTER, PALO, Leyte  –  The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency recently raised concern over the use by substance abusers and pushers, of “mephentermine” as a potential substitute for methamphetamine hydrochloride.

PDEA Region 8 Director Julius Navales quoted PDEA Director General Undersecretary Jose S. Guttierrez, Jr., who said that mephentermine is a stimulant and has similar effects and characteristics with that of shabu but that it is by far cheaper.

However, it is not included in the list of dangerous drugs under Republic Act 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

Large doses of mephentermine may affect the brain’s central nervous system and can increase blood pressure and cardiac output, Director Navales said.

A brief research showed that "mephentermine is a cardiac stimulant. It was formerly used in nasal decongestant inhalers and before that as a stimulant in psychiatry. It has been used as a treatment for hypo-tension. Among the mephentermine adverse reactions are drowsiness, incoherence, hallucinations, convulsions, tachycardia, fear, anxiety, restlessness, tremor, insomnia, confusion, irritability and psychosis, nausea, vomiting, reduced appetite, urinary retention, dyspnoea, weakness."

Although the central stimulant effects of the drug are much less than those of amphetamine, its use may lead to amphetamine-type dependence, the PDEA Director added.

Furthermore, the PDEA disclosed that pushers also use mephentermine in their illicit trade in order to mislead authorities into thinking that illegal drugs purchased from them during buy-bust operations were indeed shabu, considering that mephentermine is similar in physical attributes with shabu.

Moreover, Director Navales informed that PDEA has already lobbied and sought proper representations with the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) to include mephentermine in the list of dangerous substances.

“Undersecretary Gutierrez has already made proper representations with the DDB stressing that this has to be done immediately because arrested offenders using the drug have gone scot-free since mephentermine is not an illegal drug,” Director Navales concluded.