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PDEA director: 'Ecstasy is designed to attract'

"Ecstasy is designed to attract."

This is what Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) National Capital Region Director Erwin Ogario said as he described the various forms that the lethal drug comes in.

"Purple, yellow, peace sign, rock and roll," he said as he ticked off some of the designs he had personally seen.

Ogario told GMA News Online that Ecstasy pills do not have a standard form and they come in different designs to increase their marketability. 

"Magkakaiba yung porma. Ecstasy is designed to be attractive. Marketing nila yun," he said. 

Ogario shared his observations after a photo of alleged ecstasy pills, posted by netizen Tricia Faustino on Facebook, made rounds online.

The photo, showing pills in different colors and shapes, was shared by more than 9,000 people.

Faustino posted the photo to raise awareness about the drug after the tragic turn of events at the Forever Summer concert where five people died in the early hours of May 22.

"Parents, these are how ecstasy pills look like. Warn your kids, educate them about the dangers and how to avoid deception. ?#‎justsayno?," Faustino captioned the photo.

Some of the commenters on her post noted how the pills looked like children's multivitamins.

Ogario said he has not yet seen pills such as the ones in Faustino's Facebook post. However, he said it was possible that they could be Ecstasy.

"Hindi ko pa nakita pero hindi malayo na may ganoong design. Iba-ibang shape yan, iba-ibang design," Ogario said.

He noted that Ecstasy targets the attention of millennials.

The age range of Ecstasy users is from 22 to less than 30 years old, he said.

"Pinakabata na nakita naming nagbebenta is 22 years old. Ganoong age group din yung bumibili," he said.

Ogario is both pleased and apprehensive at the mainstream attention that the drug garnered.

While many may become aware of the dangers of drugs, some might also be tempted to try them, he said.

"Everything that comes out in the media, and social media, is a double-edged sword. It will raise awareness. Ang problema, naeenganyo ang mga iba. Ang Ecstasy, sometimes hindi nakakayanan ng katawan ang epekto. Nakakamatay ang Ecstasy," Ogario said.

"Ingat at iwas. Yun lang naman yun," he added. 

Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police (PNP) is still investigating if drugs had caused the deaths of the concertgoers last weekend although some attendees had admitted to taking ecstasy during the party. — VVP, GMA News