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Deadly ecstasy pills sporting the Golden Arches MacDonald’s logo have been seized in Scotland, all containing para-methoxy-amphetamine (PMA) – a strong psychedelic and killer ecstasy substitute.
The price of ecstasy pills is on the rise and there is increasing belief that the quantity of MDMA in pills is increasing, but this deadly seizure reminds us that pills vary widely in composition – and there are pills out there you do not want to try.
If only ecstasy pills were as consistent as a Big Mac!
PMA closely related to PMMA, has been connected to a number of deaths over the last decade in Canada, the US, Europe and Australia. While PMA was initially thought to be a by-product created in the production of MDMA, this is unlikely given the different precursors that each requires for their production.
A delayed onset of effect (often more than 2 hours) can lead to inadvertent overdosing – thinking ‘these pills are crap, better take another one of two and see if we get something’. However it can lead to muscle spasms, burred vision, overheating (hyperthermia), and increases in pulse and blood pressure.
Nausea and vomiting can lead to loss of potassium leading to hypokalemia (low potassium levels) which combined with hyperthermia can lead to irregular heart rhythms, seizures and death – see more on taking new pills here.
So if someone offers you a pill with the Macca’s logo on it – believe use you won’t be ‘lovin it’.
Before 3,4 -methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) became popular as a recreational drug known as Ecstasy, it was used effectively in psychotherapy to enhance relationships and buffer fear reactions.
After emergency scheduling by the Drug Enforcement Agency in 1985, MDMA was made illegal in the USA on November 13, 1986. Other countries quickly followed the USA’s lead. This forced MDMA onto the black market, which negatively affected the quality and purity of Ecstasy. In addition, it meant research examining the effectiveness of MDMA as a psychotherapeutic tool was politically blocked. Read more
In July of this year our good friends at CREW 2000 warned about strong batches of Ecstasy and Ecstasy containing PMMA. We at Global Drug Survey thought their info and advice was excellent and so we have republished it for you to read.
Reportedly strong batches and varieties of ecstasy around on the scene, so any users determined to use ecstasy should take care with dosing so as to stay safe.
Not wishing to add to any media sensationalism, there have been various recent user reports of people taking multiple quantities of tablets and experiencing difficulties. In Crew’s experience this has been true where people have taken too much and/or have mixed with other substances such as alcohol. Read more
The unfortunate death of a 20-year-old Sydeny woman in 2007 provided a catalyst for an analysis of how online drug-using communities defined PMA and ecstasy. PMA or para-methoxyamphetamine is structurally similar to the phenylethylamines (MDxx) and mescaline. It is a hallucinogenic stimulant with a low threshold for overdose, making it definitively more dangerous than pure MDMA. Most, but not all, use of PMA is inadvertent, as the users believe they are consuming an MD derivative when they buy pills sold as ‘ecstasy’, but the pill actually contains PMA.
Annabel Catt’s death in 2007 followed her ingestion of ‘ecstasy caps’ which were later found to contain PMA. Her friends did call an ambulance but Annabel died later in hospital due to overheating and respiratory failure. Read more
Recent media speculation around ecstasy deaths in the UK have caused unease amongst its users. Here at GDs we have created tips on how to look out for your mates.
The 2010/2011 MixMag survey identified that half of you have mates whose use of drugs and / or alcohol worries you. Those worries might have to do with what they are like when they are using, the impact upon their relationships with others, their preoccupation with use or the effect on their physical or mental health. What was really good to see was that you often spoke to your mates about your worries and although we cannot be certain what the worries were or exactly what you said to your mates, often your intervention seems to have helped them, while only rarely impacting negatively on your friendship. Mates are in good position to identify, support and motivate change in their friends because mates look out of each other. Read more