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'Legal highs,' PMMA and zombie panic: Real dangers of the lacing of ecstasy pills

Date:
February 18, 2014
Source:
SAGE Publications
Summary:
Recent deaths in both Canada and the UK linked to PMA/PMMA in ecstasy pills has brought public scrutiny to this little known drug. With Canada producing most of the ecstasy in the North American market, this timely paper looks at trends in ecstasy adulteration, the facts around PMA/PMMA-linked deaths and explores alternatives to the endless banning of new drugs. Among its findings, the paper states that in 2007, only 3% of seized ecstasy tablets contained pure MDMA compared to 69% in 2001, suggesting that there has been a major increase in the lacing of ecstasy pills available.

Recent deaths in both Canada and the UK linked to PMA/PMMA in ecstasy pills has brought public scrutiny to this little known drug. With Canada producing most of the ecstasy in the North American market, this timely paper published this week in Drug Science Policy and Law looks at trends in ecstasy adulteration, the facts around PMA/PMMA-linked deaths and explores alternatives to the endless banning of new drugs.

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It finds:

  • In 2007, according to the Health Canada Drug Analysis Service, only 3% of seized ecstasy tablets contained pure MDMA compared to 69% in 2001.
  • 4 teenage girls died after taking 3-6 ecstasy pills.
  • Almost 40 years ago, there was a spate of deaths in Canada linked to PMA (Cimbura, 1974).
  • The notorious 'face-eating zombie' case from Florida in 2012 was found to have no link to 'bath salts', specifically MDPV, despite initial reports.

The authors assert that legislation does not deter drug use and call for improved education rather than criminalization. The Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs, who host the journal, have provided harm reduction advice for anyone that might come into contact with PMA/PMMA.

Lead author Alan Hudson commented: "It is clear that not only is PMA/PMMA a real danger for those that take ecstasy, there is an urgent need for more education on how to reduce harms and recognition that constant criminalization is not effective. We must make sure young people are informed of PMMA's real risks and join up efforts across specialisms and across national lines to ensure such tragedies do not happen again"


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by SAGE Publications. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. A. L. Hudson, M. D. Lalies, G. B. Baker, K. Wells, K. J. Aitchison. Ecstasy, legal highs and designer drug use: A Canadian perspective. Drug Science, Policy and Law, 2014; 1 (0) DOI: 10.1177/2050324513509190

Cite This Page:

SAGE Publications. "'Legal highs,' PMMA and zombie panic: Real dangers of the lacing of ecstasy pills." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140218110743.htm>.
SAGE Publications. (2014, February 18). 'Legal highs,' PMMA and zombie panic: Real dangers of the lacing of ecstasy pills. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140218110743.htm
SAGE Publications. "'Legal highs,' PMMA and zombie panic: Real dangers of the lacing of ecstasy pills." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140218110743.htm (accessed November 23, 2014).

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