Shabu or Crystal meth
by Calvin Trent

One of the fastest growing drug problems in the “O world is with ‘ice’ or crystal meth. It is known as shabu in the Philippines.”

–( article from Al Jazeera’s, The Shackles of Shabu) Other names for ‘shabu’ include ubas, siopao, sha, and ice. It is usually in the form of an odorless crystal or crystalline powder, white in color and bitter in taste. Shabu is being imported from other Asian countries and is also being “homegrown” in labs in the Philippines. It is used both domestically and also exported to other countries.

According to a United Nations report, methamphetamine was identified as the “most used” illicit drug in the Philippines.

Most users smoke shabu, but it can also be snorted into the nose, injected with a needle , or simply dissolved in a liquid. Soon, the user will need greater quantities to get “high”.

Shabu/Crystal meth is a dangerous drug in that it:

* is highly addictive * produces anxiety, tension, irritability, irrational thought and behavior * causes loss of appetite * causes inability to sleep * produces feelings of euphoria and elation * causes mood swings and unpredictable behavior * causes weight loss, tooth decay and cracked teeth * causes mental and physical deterioration (including psychosis and death) * causes violent and destructive behavior * causes increased heart rate and blood pressure, which can lead to strokes and death * increases risk of convulsions, respiratory problems, irregular heartbeat, and extreme anorexia (very low weight).

In the Philippines, the penalty for possession of shabu is life imprisonment to death. Next week in this column I will discuss the need for rehabilitation.

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