Jun 16

Ecstasy warning after pills found with double or triple doses in UK

Campaigners say pills at Manchester’s Parklife festival had up to 250mg of MDMA, which could prove lethal to some

Mastercard ecstasy pills.
 Mastercard ecstasy pills. The Loop is calling on clubbers to beware of these and yellow Mickey Mouse pills, which were found to contain potentially harmful doses. Photograph: web

Drugs harm reduction campaigners are warning about high-strength ecstasy pills on the market in Britain after an analysis of drugs at a Manchester festival found some that contained double or even triple doses.

Fiona Measham, a member of the government’s Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) and founder of The Loop, a charity which tests drugs found or handed in at festivals, said she and her colleagues found ecstasy pills at the Parklife festival containing as much as 250mg of MDMA, the active ingredient. That makes them significantly stronger than the pills available during ecstasy’s previous hey-day in the late 90s, when average pills contained about 100mg of MDMA.

After a string of recent deaths attributed to MDMA poisoning, particularly among young women, she is calling on clubbers in the north-west to beware of red Mastercard and yellow Mickey Mouse pills, which were found to contain doses that could prove harmful or even lethal to some users.

There are particular concerns that irregularly shaped tablets, often with no score lines to easily split them, are confounding harm reduction advice that tells users to test their reaction to a half or even a quarter of a pill rather than swallowing the whole thing.