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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:StarPhoenix, The (CN SN)
Fetched On:2012-01-25 06:03:59

In the wake of a rash of deaths linked to the street drug ecstasy in
B.C. and Alberta, Saskatchewan RCMP have 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 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 spokesperson 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 paramethoxy-methamphetamine (PMMA), 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 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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