View Full Version : NEWS: Clubbed.com 13 Jul 01: Toxic ecstacy a myth, say Experts

20-07-2001, 04:32
Toxic Ecstasy A Myth, Say Experts
13 July 2001
Contrary to initial speculation that a 'bad batch' of ecstasy was to blame for the deaths of two teenagers at London's Raindance two weeks ago, experts now say that the deaths were caused by overheating and that the tablets contained a 'normal' level of MDMA. Speaking out about the continuing scare-mongering about 'toxic' or 'rogue' ecstasy, some experts now say that the theory of ecstasy contamination is a myth ...
When two nineteen year old men died and others needed hospital treatment after taking ecstasy at the Raindance rave festival held at London's SE1 club late last month, police called for a drugs amnesty, asking clubbers to hand in any ecstasy tablets purchased at the event to the police. Police urged anyone feeling unwell after taking drugs at the event to seek medical attention, and issued warnings that the pills circulating at the event were a 'contaminated' batch. For the full story see our article (BT: Linked in source webpage).
However, following an investigation, experts now believe that overheating was the most likely cause of the deaths; some reports suggest that the temperature in the venue reached up 40 degrees (see previous article for details). Tests on the ecstasy revealed that the tablets were not contaminated by another substance such as strychnine and that they contained a 'normal' level of MDMA. Speaking to the UK's Guardian newspaper, Dr John Ramsey, Head of toxicology unit at London's St George's hospital, said 'Once the body temperature reaches 40C everything falls apart. A crowded, badly ventilated club is exactly the worst place you could possibly imagine taking ecstasy. People want to blame contamination, but that's a comforting myth' He also added that most people who die from taking ecstasy are killed by MDMA; death by toxic contamination of tablets is extremely rare. Out of the hundreds tested by Ramsay over a period of years, only one ecstasy tablet was ever found to contain traces of any poison. So why does the panic-mongering about 'rogue ecstasy' continue? 'There's an element of denial from the user as to why things went wrong' says Ramsay 'they believe they aren't vunerable, that it was a bad pill ... people really don't want to believe that something that can cause so much pleasure can also kill you.'
(BT: Here comes the good bit)
London police are now embarking upon a new harm reduction strategy, advising ecstasy users to drink plenty of water and to cool down in 'chill-out' areas of nightclubs to prevent dehydration and overheating. They are also advising clubbers to seek advice on safer drug use. There are increasing calls for UK police to allow the introduction of pill-testing in clubs. However, despite their new bids for harm reduction, the UK police force continue to express fears over using pill-testing measures, claiming that the use of these methods would be tantamount legitimising and condoning ecstasy use. But 11 people have died from taking ecstasy in the UK this year, compared with none in Holland, where harm reduction measures such as in-club pill testing are already in operation. And according to a report in the Guardian, the UK's ecstasy death rates are set to continue rising at such a rate that some experts fear as many as 25 deaths could be recorded by the end of 2001.
From: http://www.clubbed.com/clubbers/article1178.asp

Not a bad article on the whole, I think. Aside from a little journalistic license in saying that the unfortunates are "killed by MDMA" alone. I feel that perhaps since this is not a direct quote from the toxicologist John Ramsey, it's possible that he implied the converse; that deaths were not linked with any chemicals other than MDMA, emphasising that there are relatively few cases of poisoning, and the overwhelming majority of deaths are caused by hyperthermia and dehydration.
The links are becoming firmer and firmer in most people's minds. I think we may have to face a period in the future where we accept the causal link, and acknowledge that there is some truth in the equation:
MDMA + hot environment + exercise - water = Hyperthermia --> Death
Would the deaths have occurred in the absence of any of the above factors? Probably not. There are many people who go clubbing and take MDMA but also have breaks and drink water that live to tell the story. There are also many people that go out, dance a lot, but don't take MDMA, and live through that. Maybe the media will take an unbiased approach and talk about 'hyperthermia deaths' but it's unlikely IMHO. Quite frankly, it makes better news to speak of MDMA deaths, and clubbing fatalities, and when would a journalist let the whole truth stand in the way of a good headline?
BigTrancer http://www2.bluelight.ru/ubb/smile.gif
Load universe into cannon. Aim at brain. Shoot.

20-07-2001, 04:54
Good find. That's why I support pill testing and having roaming (Straight) experts (Used a little loosely) who are trained in first aid to wonder the crowds and talk to people, look for anyone in trouble and generally make the whole night safer for all.
Reality is for those that cannot handle drugs!

20-07-2001, 05:19
very interesting.
Nice one bruva.

20-07-2001, 05:30
yeah you can tell that the article is english when they discuss the small number of contaminated pills. in the usa and moreso still in aust, the risk of other substances being in pills is much higher.
i remember reading the original article and thinking to myself it must have been overheating not bad pills, when it got to the part about it being crowded and over 40C in the club.
the only way to go is pill testing + dance community education + promoter education + public education about the whole range of issues. i doubt w/ popular public avenues an unbiased and realistic assessment of the dangers will get much coverage, but hopefully working on the other two will give them far less media fodder
for those of us trying to work in some of this stuff, promoter ed is also very hard cuz you're up against hard-nosed business men. look at the stories about twilo in the states. :/ its really encouraging to see promoters like earthcore who will go all out to make sure they provide a safe space for their parties.
its occured to me i'm rambling.

Infinite Jest
20-07-2001, 09:21
It's great that they are talking about allowing in-club testing. Just one problem: The Drome (where Raindance is held) already HAD in-club testing - run by none other than TheGamer and SilverPrincessUK (although the venue has now changed ownership and they have moved their testing stall to the promoter's new venue).
Anyways, in my experience (having been to Raindance at the Drome) it is the hottest venue I have EVER been to, and the only one in which I have felt genuinely scared that I was going to overheat. I spent the entire night standing in one of the smaller rooms, by a door opened onto the street. Raindance is a great party, top people, safe security and all that - but damn they need to do something about the heat and overcrowding in there.

20-07-2001, 12:05
great find as always BT http://www2.bluelight.ru/ubb/smile.gif
but what are its chancing of getting into an everyday newspaper / nightly news situation?
[This message has been edited by HappyCamper (edited 20 July 2001).]

RaveSafe Queensland
21-07-2001, 03:28
For anyone interested, here are the term figures for interventions recorded by RaveSafe Queensland. Please note that no personal details are ever recorded, other than approximate age and sex. Figures cover an eight month period ending June 2001.
Rehydrated : 13,120
Individually Educated : 2,605
Adverse Drug Reactions/ First Aid/ trauma counselling : 369
Referral to Ambulance / paramedics : 36
Incidents where specific drugs were acknowledged as being the probable predisposing condition (approximately 85% of those assisted) are shown as a percentage of total drug related interventions:
Ecstasy: 41%
Alcohol 27%
LSD 12%
Speed: 10%
Other 10% ( includes pharms. and misc )
When interventions involve poly drug use, the substances believed to be contributing to the incident are noted.
Drug related interventions should be seen as a representation of the number of certain event types attended, and the preference towards certain drug at these events. It is not a fair representation of the most affecting or least affecting drug i.e. Ecstasy does not necessarily cause more adverse reactions than alcohol, but RaveSafe did attend more events where Ecstasy was the preferred drug of choice.
Thanks to Palm Springs Natural Spring Waters for providing free bottled water at Livid and Gold Coast Big Day Out.
Thanks too, to all that have supported RaveSafe including the 53 Peer Helpers that have completed training in first aid and drug awareness.
Any enquiries, [email protected]
Merck, Spesh, Karma and Az http://www2.bluelight.ru/ubb/smile.gif

21-07-2001, 06:59
keep up the good work ravesafe QLD http://www2.bluelight.ru/ubb/smile.gif http://www2.bluelight.ru/ubb/smile.gif