In the wake of recent recreational drug deaths in the UK and US, we asked the experts for advice on how to lessen the risks of taking ecstasy, MDMA or Molly.
Of course, not all dance music fans take MDMA (aka Molly / ecstasy) or any drugs at all, but if you do, read on.
Last month at Manchester’s Warehouse Project, one clubber died and another fifteen were hospitalised as a result of what police were describing as a ‘bad batch’ of ecstasy, which may have contained the toxin PMA. Meanwhile in the US, overdoses of MDMA were implicated in the deaths of two partygoers at Electric Zoo.
Taking any unregulated illegal substance obviously has risks, but here are our experts’ tips on how to protect yourself. No sensationalism, just facts.
1 BUY YOUR DRUGS FROM A TRUSTED SOURCE
It's certainly no guarantee, but good business practice suggests that a dealer who has supplied you or your friends in the past is likely to be more reliable than a stranger in a club toilet.
2 BUT TEST THEM ANYWAY
The only real way to be sure that your pills, crystal or powder aren’t contaminated by the toxin PMA is to test them using the Robadope test, which will show red if PMA is present. A further test is needed to establish whether they actually contain MDMA. If you don't have access to a test kit, Pill Report is also a decent resource for checking the quality of pills or any potential bad batches.
3 TEST DRIVE YOUR DRUGS
Because you never know what a pill might contain, taking a small dose first can reduce the risk of being exposed to something nasty. Take a half first, wait for an hour and only take more if there are no ill effects. And if you’re in a group who have bought a big batch, don’t all bang them at once: guinea pigs need not hunt in packs.
4 STAY COOL AND STAY HYDRATED
Ecstasy and its analogues can affect your body’s ability to regulate its temperature, as well as causing you to urinate and sweat more, causing dehydration. Take some time to find somewhere in the club to cool off once in a while, and stay hydrated (a glass of water an hour, sipped, is plenty).
5 DON’T MIX YOUR DRUGS
Our Drugs Survey research shows that most people who end up at A&E after taking ecstasy or other drugs have drunk alcohol and often taken other stimulants at the same time.
6 DON’T MIX WITH MEDICATION
If you’re on medication, especially anti-depressants, don’t take ecstasy at the same time. Not only can the combined effects be risky but ecstasy can make the antidepressants less effective. Your comedowns can also be worse if you’re already depressed.
7 IF YOU FEEL ILL SEEK HELP
Big clubs and events should have trained staff who will know how to help if you feel ill. It might be embarrassing, but you’re unlikely to get into legal trouble - and if there is something seriously wrong, the earlier you seek treatment, the more likely you will be OK.
8 DON’T OVERDO IT
Banging pills or Molly every weekend will eventually take a physical and mental toll. Take some time off once in a while, maybe go to the cinema, or eat something, play Scrabble, whatever; take care of yourself.