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News (Media Awareness Project) - CN AB: Ecstasy Toll Rises
Title:CN AB: Ecstasy Toll Rises
Published On:2012-01-28
Source:Calgary Sun, The (CN AB)
Fetched On:2012-02-02 06:00:39
ECSTASY TOLL RISES

City cops are probing a sixth death tied to
ecstasy, the latest in a string of overdoses on
the drug containing the deadly compound PMMA.

Police say a 43-year-old man died in a northeast
home in July 2011, but it was only this week when
authorities uncovered the link.

A review by the coroner's office revealed that
the man had ingested ecstasy made with the
compound PMMA, a toxic chemical said to be a
cheaper additive in the production of synthetic drugs known as ecstasy.

Investigators are also awaiting results of
toxicology tests on a seventh case after a man
died from a suspected overdose over the weekend.

Sgt. Mike Bossley of the drug unit said their
investigations are progressing with ample tips
from the public, mostly anonymous.

He declined to discuss details on the cases
investigators are currently working on.

Bossley also said the drugs aren't necessarily coming from one source.

They could be manufactured in different locations at different times,=94 he
said.

There's nothing to indicate that it=92s one source at this time.=94

Calgary has experienced a string of ecstasy
overdoses in recent months and in each case
testing showed the presence of PMMA.

In November, 16-year-old Alex Kristof died after
taking ecstasy during a party at a Harvest Hills
home, then about a month later, two men, an
18-year-old and a 25-year-old, died after overdosing on the drug.

Alberta Health Services responded by issuing a
rare public warning about the dangers of ecstasy,
especially if the drug is spiked with PMMA.

But days later, police were investigating another
apparent ecstasy overdose after a man in his 20s
was found unconscious on a driveway in the 1600
block of St. Andrews Pl. N.W. He later died in hospital.

As the number of ecstasy fatalities has increased
=AD six between July and December =AD police have
been training officers to look for signs of PMMA
when dealing with natural death investigations.

Sgt. Frank Cattoni of the youth services unit,
said they've also increased awareness among
students at schools about the perils of drugs.

A new poster, which compares the perils of
ingesting drugs to eating a rotting sandwich, has
been distributed at Calgary schools.

Cattoni said the poster will help officers who
work as resources at schools strike up
conversation with students about the danger of drugs.

We wanted them to use this poster as a starting
point for talking to young people,=94 said Cattoni.

While school resources are key to keeping
children away from drugs, parents play a crucial
role by talking to their kids early on about the matter, he said.

Cattoni also stressed there's no such as thing as a bad batch of ecstasy.

There's no such thing as street drugs that=92s
safe, you don't know the content of street narcotics,=94 he said.

Police are now also using social media in their
campaign against drug use, especially among kids.

Since 2008, more than 30 people in Alberta have
died following incidents involving ecstasy.
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