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News (Media Awareness Project) - CN AB: Ecstasy Probed In New Calgary Death
Title:CN AB: Ecstasy Probed In New Calgary Death
Published On:2012-01-30
Source:Calgary Herald (CN AB)
Fetched On:2012-02-03 06:01:21

Two women hospitalized in separate case

CALGARY - As tests link a seventh Calgary death to ecstasy made with a
toxic additive, provincial officials said Monday that there is no
"quick fix" to the recent spate of deaths connected to the street

Toxicology results revealed by Calgary police Monday indicated the
death of a 23-year-old student Cody Gorlick at the SAIT residence on
Jan. 21 is the latest involving ecstasy made with
paramethoxymethamphetamine (PMMA).

The addition of PMMA makes ecstasy far more potent and local
authorities are linking its recent appearance in supplies being bought
and sold in the Calgary area with several recent overdose deaths,
including Gorlick's.

It's been seven days since Deborah Gorlick cremated her son but the
news Monday that his death has been linked to a particularly toxic
supply of ecstasy brought no closure.

"Now we know it was poison," Deborah said. "I hope the people making
it are scared. They've got to catch these people."

Gorlick said she has been contacted by other families of overdose
victims and while she isn't convinced that her son deliberately took
the drug, she said there is comfort in the companionship of others who
have suffered a similar loss.

"In a way the news doesn't change anything. I'm going to miss him for
the rest of my life. There is a big hole in our family," Deborah said.

The development in Gorlick's case came as Calgary police continue to
probe whether PMMA was involved in two drug-related cases over the
weekend that left one man dead and hospitalized four others.

A 37-year-old man died and a man and woman went to hospital after
police and paramedics were called to a home on Falsby Place N.E. on
Sunday morning.

On Saturday, two women in their 20s from Edmonton went to hospital
after consuming what they believed was ecstasy.

Two other deaths in the Calgary area since last summer have been
linked to ecstasy, while authorities in B.C. believe at least five
deaths in that province involve PMMA.

Although PMMA has prompted police and health officials to step up
their warnings about the dangers of ecstasy, a senior officer said
taking the drug in any form, from any source, is unsafe.

"Let's not sugar-coat this. It's very simple: taking ecstasy is very
risky," Supt. Kevan Stuart said.

"You're playing Russian roulette."

Monday Justice Minister Verlyn Olson was asked if the province will be
involved in some kind of reponse to the deaths, including the
possibility of starting a program allowing people to bring in their
ecstasy without facing a criminal charge.

Olson said a recent meeting with other provincial justice ministers
showed that everyone in Canada is dealing with the problem of gangs
and drugs.

"We're all looking for effective means of dealing with them," he said.
"I think there is a growing awareness about how prevention and early
intervention and so on is a huge part of the answer.

"Some of these things, they're not quick fixes where you are going to
come up with a law or a check that's going to solve the problem in the
short term," Olson said.

Ecstasy can come as a powder, be put into capsules or pressed into

Drug investigators said powdered ecstasy has been consistently found
in the recent PMMA-related cases - but that doesn't mean pills or
capsules don't also contain the highly toxic additive.

"It's not one type of ecstasy," said Staff Sgt. Mike Bossley of the
drug unit.

The ecstasy police have found in the fatal cases so far hasn't
provided any clues about its source, Bossley added.

Drug investigators arrested a man over the weekend and seized a small
amount of cocaine and ecstasy, but Bossley there's no indication the
drug had PMMA.

Although police are encountering ecstasy more often recently, Bossley
said it's difficult to know if there is more of it on the streets than
in the past.

One thing police did say, however, is ecstasy use has broadened beyond
its origins as a drug taken mainly by younger people at all-night
dance parties known as raves.

"We have people 30 to 40 years of age who are taking this who should
know better - they do know better," Stuart said.
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