Illegal pills sold under the street name ‘ecstasy’ in Australia contain particularly high levels of a potentially lethal ingredient, a new report has found.
Project Know has surveyed the worldwide contents of ‘ecstasy’ based on analyses of more than 25,000 pills over a ten-year period.
Two websites, PillReports and EcstasyData, offer to test the pharmacological contents of ecstasy drugs so that users can know what they are taking. Based on reports from these websites, Australian ecstasy has the highest average concentrations (0.9 per cent) of PMA, Project Know reported.
PMA or para-methoxyamphetamine is a deadly ingredient that can overheat the body and induce an accelerated and irregular heartbeat, blurred vision, nausea, hallucinations and, ultimately, death.
The ingredient’s nickname amongst users is ‘Dr Death’.
Because it takes longer to affect the brain than MDMA, the normal ingredient in ecstasy, users are more likely to overdose, thinking their initial dose has not worked.
Average concentrations of PMA were found to be equal in the Netherlands (0.9 per cent) and lower in the UK (0.8 per cent), Canada (0.4 per cent) and the US (0.1 per cent).