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News (Media Awareness Project) - CN SN: Sask RCMP Warn Of Deadly Drug
Title:CN SN: Sask RCMP Warn Of Deadly Drug
Published On:2012-01-24
Source:Regina Leader-Post (CN SN)
Fetched On:2012-01-25 06:03:13

In the wake of a rash of deaths linked to the street drug ecstasy in
B.C. and Alberta, Saskatchewan RCMP has issued a warning in hopes of
heading off any problems here.

No such deaths have been reported in Saskatchewan to date, RCMP said.
However, knowing that drugs don't stop at provincial or international
borders, RCMP in this province opted to issue a public warning.

"Just like people, drugs can be pretty transient - so best to err on
the side of caution," RCMP spokesman Sgt. Paul Dawson said.

In B.C., ecstasy laced with a highly toxic chemical has been linked to
five deaths - three in the Lower Mainland and two from Vancouver
Island - in the past six months. Calgary has seen five identical
deaths since November.

Dawson noted ecstasy, also known as E or X, occasionally surfaces in
seizures in Saskatchewan. "It's not a huge problem throughout the
province, but the (Regina Integrated Drug Unit) did say it is present
throughout the province."

Because it rose to popularity as part of rave culture, ecstasy has
generally been associated with younger users. The deceased in B.C. and
Alberta were between the ages of 14 and 37.

As with the Calgary cases, the B.C. Coroners Service confirmed the
ecstasy consumed contained the chemical paramethoxymethamphetamine
(PM-MA), although methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) - the compound
commonly found in ecstasy - and other substances were also present in
all five deaths.

The B.C. coroner said in a release that PMMA is a rare drug not
routinely tested for in its investigations. But after PMMA was linked
to several deaths in Alberta, toxicology findings were reviewed in all
16 of B.C.'s 2011 ecstasy-involved deaths and two 2012 deaths and
turned up the five cases. "As with MDMA (ecstasy), there is no known
safe dose of PMMA," notes the release.

Even though PMMA was detected in the five B.C. cases, there were 13
other ecstasy-related deaths in the same period that didn't involve
the chemical.

"The finding of PMMA in five recent cases confirms the danger that has
always been associated with taking ecstasy: There is no guarantee of
purity in a drug that is concocted for profit in a clandestine
environment. Every ingestion of ecstasy is a risk," adds the B.C.
release. In one of the B.C. deaths, only one pill had been consumed.

Drug experts have said that because PMMA doesn't initially pack the
same punch as MDMA and affects people more slowly, ecstasy users take
more pills - and end up with a toxic overdose that causes body
temperature to rise, resulting in permanent brain and organ damage.

Saskatchewan RCMP are encouraging parents to discuss the issue with
their children.
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