A West Australian has fatally overdosed on a lethal hallucinogenic drug purporting to be ecstasy, which goes by the street name "death".
It is the first fatality from the drug in more than 10 years in Perth, and has police concerned ahead of the Australia Day party season.
It is understood the man took pills containing PMMA, a highly dangerous drug that is synthetically manufactured at a cheaper cost than ecstasy. He was found dead on New Year's Day.
The last known fatality in Perth from PMMA was back in 1999, according to police.
Users of the drug are at a higher risk of overdose because it has an initially slow effect on the body.
The gradual high can prompt users to take higher doses of the potent drug because they mistake it for a weak batch of ecstasy.
Combining high doses of the drug together with other drugs, alcohol, or caffeine also increases the chance of overdose.
Those who have ingested PMMA can suffer breathing difficulties, nausea, vomiting, muscle spasms, and increased blood pressure and temperature.
Symptoms of overdose include high body temperatures, sometimes resulting in convulsions, coma and a complete shutdown of the organs of the body.
There have been a number of reported deaths in North America, Canada, Australia and Europe in the past, with the drug becoming popular in the '70s and enjoying a revival in the '90s.
In a WAtoday.com.au special investigation, WA police previously warned that the state's drug culture had changed for the worse, with more synthetically-altered drugs hitting the streets under the guise of ecstasy pills.
20 Jan, 2011 01:05 PM
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