09 May 2019

MDMA in Ecstasy Tablets – Gambling with Unpredictable Pills

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With festival season around the corner, MDMA, the psychoactive ingredient in ecstasy tablets, has come under the scientific spotlight. Expert researchers at Queen Mary University and St George’s University in London analysed 650 ecstasy tablets seized by police. Their findings show a big difference in the strength and bioavailability of MDMA in ecstasy tablets – meaning users are more susceptible to unpredictable effects.

Scientists found that levels of MDMA in ecstasy tablets varied by more than 250% – despite coming from the same batch. There were also significant differences in the time it took for MDMA to be released from each pill – from 30 minutes for fast-acting ecstasy tablets to release 95% of their MDMA, up to 100 minutes for slow release pills.

The research team concluded that these variations in strength and disintegration rates of ecstasy tablets mean that the effects of MDMA on users will vary greatly. Currently, it is impossible to “predict, determine or prevent” who will come to harm.

If you or your loved one can’t stop taking ecstasy, UKAT can advise you on our most effective treatment programmes. There is a way out of MDMA addiction – please pick up the phone or message us to start your recovery process.

Higher Levels of MDMA in Ecstasy Tablets

In June 2018, the BBC reported on potentially fatal levels of MDMA in ecstasy tablets tested in Wales.

National Substance Misuse Lead for Wales, Josie Smith, said: “Whereas 10 years ago, the average strength of a tablet was around 70-80mg, we’re now looking at an average of 156mg, with a range right up to just under 300mg.”

Public Health Wales warned that strengths of over 120mg per tablet were ‘very dangerous’, risking serotonin toxicity, hospitalisation or death.

There are also frequent warnings about ecstasy tablets with dangerously high levels of MDMA. Often, they are branded to increase their popularity and memorability among users. Usually, public health warnings are only issued after an ecstasy user has become seriously ill or has died. These pills are often bought on the dark web, where dealers can sell ecstasy anonymously.

Deaths Relating to Ecstasy and MDMA – An Upward Trend

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Ecstasy and MDMA related deaths in England and Wales are small in comparison to drugs like heroin, benzodiazepines and anti-depressants. Since 2010, however, there’s been an upward trend in fatal overdoses.

There were 8 deaths relating to ecstasy and MDMA in 2010, rising in each subsequent year. This peaked at 63 deaths in 2016, the highest number since the Office for National Statistics’ series began in 1993. In 2017, there were 56 fatalities.

Experts have connected these increasing deaths to higher strength MDMA in ecstasy tablets, pills that are widely available and break down in the body at different rates.

Help for Ecstasy and MDMA Addiction

If you’re addicted to ecstasy, increasingly your life will revolve around getting hold of MDMA, using it and then getting more. When you’re not using ecstasy, life will feel more and more difficult, including your everyday commitments and relationships.

Most importantly, your health and wellbeing will be suffering because of the addiction. You might feel exhausted due to drug use, poor sleep, diet and stress. You may rarely feel genuinely happy or relaxed. Life might seem boring or meaningless without ecstasy. Mental illness can set in, as MDMA use alters your brain chemistry and you struggle to cope with life in addiction.

Addiction treatment, particularly residential rehab, provides the gateway to a brand new life in recovery. The key to lasting recovery is putting down the drugs with professional help and peer support, whilst you learn how to stay stopped for good. There is a great deal of hope and evidence of successful outcomes, particularly for people who enter addiction rehab willing to listen and make changes.

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Make the first move towards your recovery today. Please get in touch with UK Addiction Treatment, to find out how we can help you recover and rebuild your life.

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