With shabu supply plummeting in Bohol, prices of the province’s most sought after illegal drug have reportedly skyrocketed leaving some persistent drug users to seek out a cheaper alternative—Nubain, a regulated pain killer.
In a report to Gov. Edgar Chatto, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) noted that it recently found out that Nubain is being used as alternative to shabu by some drug users in Bohol.
PDEA Bohol chief Nicholas Gomez, during the Provincial Anti-Drug Abuse Council meeting on October 30, said that PDEA is now tracking the illegal source of the said drug which has become widespread in Bohol.
“Diha mi operation sa Lite Port last Saturday, and it was the first time na na-discover namo nga naa diay Nubain sa Bohol—daghan,” said Gomez.
The PDEA official was referring to a drug bust conducted in Barangay Cogon, Tagbilaran City on October 28 wherein three men who were arrested had swollen arms due to repeated puncture using an injection.
Nubain is administered through rapid injection using a syringe.
“In fact, ang among mga nadakpan, naa sila’y mga syringe unya ilang mga kamot nanghubag na sa mark sa injection,” he said.
However, Nubain has not gained as much popularity as methamphetamine or shabu due to the exclusivity of its illegal sale to buyers with “marks.”
“Your ticket to buy Nubain is your injection mark para ma-confirm na abuser gyud ka, so that’s why dili kayo siya mo sikat kay dili man ka makapalit,” Gomez said.
Supply of Nubain ampoules is also not immediately ready upon purchase as reservations have to be made before the actual drug is handed out to the buyer.
“Naaay taw na mo dawat sa iyang order, mo bayad ka daan unya i-reserve siya. So kuhaon nimo nigkagabii, naa na ang Nubain,” he added.
In 2011, Nalbuphine hydrochloride, more widely known as Nubain, started to be considered as a dangerous drug as mandated by the country’s Dangerous Drugs Board.
This meant that those who illegally possess or peddle the drug can be charged for violation against Section 5 and Section 11 of Article II of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
Pharmacies need a yellow prescription to dispense dangerous drugs such as Nubain which is strong analgesic or painkiller.