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  1. KingMe
    Real ecstasy pills have almost vanished from Britain's clubs over the last two years, an investigation for Radio 1 Newsbeat suggests.

    Almost all of the tablets seized by police are now testing negative for the active chemical in ecstasy, MDMA.

    "It's a huge drop," said Dean Aimes at the Forensic Science Service. "The pill market has changed and we see very few ecstasy tablets now."

    Trends in the drugs market could explain part of the fall.That could mean substances like mephedrone taking the place of ecstasy.

    But both dealers and law enforcement agencies say a global crackdown on the industrial chemicals, or precursors, used to make the drug is a more significant factor. Illegal laboratories in Europe are now unable to produce MDMA, so are being forced to use other chemicals with effects similar to weak amphetamines.

    'Obviously changed something'

    1.5% of 16 to 59-year-olds who fill out the annual British crime survey say they take ecstasy at least once a year.Multiplied across the population it suggests at least 540,000 people use the drug, making it the third most popular illegal substance after cannabis and cocaine.

    But users say the availability and purity of the pills on the market today has fallen sharply.

    "We've just seen this sudden drop. The experience has completely changed in two years," one told Newsbeat. "We've started wondering what is in the pills because they must have changed something." Another said: "There is a real drought in the UK. More people are taking cocaine because ecstasy just isn't available anymore."

    Figures from the Forensic Science Service show a sharp fall in the number of pills testing positive for MDMA. Just 27 batches seized in the first three months of 2010 contained the chemical down from 152 in 2009 and 1046 in 2006. Police agencies and drug researchers attribute the fall to tighter restrictions on the 'precursor' chemicals used to make ecstasy in the first place.

    "It's relatively simple," said Roumen Sedefov, at the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction. "We have observed a lack of precursors as the basic reason. For years manufacturers were using chemicals from China and now that is more tightly controlled."

    Switch to peps

    There is growing evidence laboratories in Europe are switching from making MDMA to tablets containing piperazines, a little known family of chemicals found in many of the so called "legal highs" that were banned in December 2009.

    Those pills are often sold as ecstasy even though the effect on the body is more like weak amphetamines and can cause vomiting and sickness.
    Cambodian troops at Safrole oil factory Safrole oil is made from the bark of an endangered South-East Asian tree

    The Forensic Science Service tested 386 batches of pills containing piperazines in the first three months of 2010 - up from zero in 2005 and far higher than the 27 that contained MDMA.

    A study of the substances found at last year's Glastonbury Festival by staff at St George's Hospital, part of the University of London, confirms the trend.

    Of the 1,848 tablets seized by security in 2009, 695 tested positive for piperazines while just 154 contained MDMA.

    "People might think they are taking ecstasy but they aren't," said Dr John Ramsay, from St George's. "You can't possibly know what's in the tablets because they look exactly the same. Some have nasty side effects. "One of the chemicals we tested has even been used to cause headaches, to try and research them." "You can take too much and overdose or just have a bad time. The truth is you never know quite what you're going to get."



    Asian crackdown

    * To make ecstasy, illegal drug laboratories need a chemical PMK or oil known as safrole.
    * PMK has a legitimate use in industries like perfume manufacturing. In the past, drums of the chemical, made in China, would disappear from container ships and end up with criminal gangs.
    * Since 2004 law enforcement agencies in China have worked more closely with police in Europe to control the supply of that chemical.
    * There is some evidence labs have been switching to safrole, produced from the bark of what is now an endangered tree in South East Asia.
    * A series of raids by conservation authorities and government troops in Cambodia have recently targeted manufacturing sites there. A single raid in June 2009 destroyed 5.7 tones of the oil, enough to make 44 million ecstasy tablets.


    By Jim Reed
    Article date: June 20, 2010
    Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/hi/health/newsid_10350000/newsid_10353100/10353130.stm

Comments

  1. RaverHippie
    That statistic "8.3% of pills tested positive for MDMA." That's haunting.
  2. godztear
    Money talks and bullshit walks. MDMA was the stimulant for the pop culture that took it to a new level. It is no surprise that "Great" Britain so quickly put a ban on Mephedrone, as they were so afraid their island would be tainted by more drug fiendish thugs that they had to act so quick to keep the public at bay.

    Now, Mephedrone would be classed as a designer drug just as MDMA would be, however...it caused DEATH...remember? Oh wait, that's right, they found out that it wasn't at all the drugs in either party that caused death.

    The UK is soon forming into the USA when it comes to drug policy, just a little late like the revolutionary war. Marijuana is already up for vote for complete legalization in California, just one state of the US.

    Get your shit together and stop trying to police the people who are loyal to the land they live, and do the job of real detectives, solving the crimes committed by criminals.
  3. georgeny30
    Yeah swim remembers back in 2005 and 2006 maybe even 2007 you could get as many good rolls as you wanted, and they kicked ass. But then all of a sudden everyone was selling bunk pills. They looked like a regular E pill but they didn't work. So Swim just gave up trying to score any more MDMA.
  4. thewizzard
    ..... And that's why swim doesn't take pills any more.

    It was all fun and games 8 years ago (when swim first did it), but now its all weird fucking chemicals that make you fell horrendous.

    Well done drugs police, you've actually made MDMA near impossible to get. Great job now all the pills have combinations of much more dangerous unknown chemicals in them.

    Awesome work. If you were bankers you'd be getting massive bonuses for doing something that retarded.
  5. steez
    Strange, in Canada everybody is becoming more and more acquainted with amazing molly capsules. Each batch seems to keep getting better and more and more people are starting to do it.
  6. Niteflights
    capsules are suspect unless tested
  7. captu4ik
    Same in the US. SWIM has been blaming the RC vendors, though.
  8. platitude
    It's the same everywhere. It's a little bit sad to see a drug that has given swim so much dying like that. MDMA is one of the most magical substances out there, and it cannot be replaced by some other stuff, which may give you a nice trip but it's not ecstasy.
    After more than 30 years, we may be witnessing the first prohibitionists' true victory in the war of drugs :(
    Too bad that mdma is not naturally synthesized in any plant...
    Geneticist ..are you out there? ;)
  9. DJ Revisionist
    I can attest to this.
  10. Monkey'ed
    It's coming back in a big way. In london, good pills are a little more expensive but they are stronger and crystal mdma is everywhere in bulk.

    Although there are still a lot of bad pills, but no one seems to be taking them.
  11. Friedbeefwithnoodle
    SWIM goes clubbing in London quite a bit and finds the MDMA situation improving slightly from what it was during the horrendous reign of Mephedrone, but theres still alot of shit floating about and its still hard to find decent stuff unless you know friends have good contacts ect. If only it could be made at home..lol.
  12. floppyfunk
    in the club is difficult (impossible) to find any kind of drugs because the police made a lot of raids and the dealer stopped to sell in the clubs.
    The people in zürich are going to buy the drugs during the week so they can consume after in the club.
    in Zürich (switzerland) the pills doesn't contain mdma.
    But you can buy a lot of christals of mdma.
    i buy mdma then i tested it and it was 95%.
    I think in switzerland there are tons of mdma because for the law in switzerland extasy is like cannabis, they are softdrugs :applause:
  13. godztear
    It is unfortunate that one cannot simply walk around with a test kit for these substances, without getting harassed by the law/security. The notion of such makes the officials cringe, but it would save lives. What IF...government paid employees to walk around in the club distributing safely dosed pills. No no, the few deaths caused by bunk pills is not enough to give the legit lab's a bail out.
  14. spunkymunky
    SWIM found that no MDMA was about at all for a good 2 years and thought that was why all this meph/meth crap got popular cos it was all that was available - and pills were all crap.

    But at festivals this year he found some real nice MDMA rocks (or so he thought) real nice high, euphoric, rushy etc. shiny, clearish stuff (he had some white and some yellow/green!

    Is it back?
    some ppl were saying it's MDA but SWIM has taken that before and thought this was better - at least as good as some MDMA he used to get.
    Any news???
  15. YIPMAN
    Ecstasy is back in clubs as newly potent drug is taken with 'legal highs'

    The drug of choice in the Nineties rave scene is coming back as a powder that can be shared socially like cocaine and distinguishes its more fashion-conscious users from 'pill heads'

    Jamie Doward and Silvia Suárez Jiménez
    The Observer, Sunday 20 November 2011


    Ecstasy, the drug of choice for the clubbers of the early 1990s, is making a comeback. Once synonymous with the rave scene, its popularity declined as the diminishing amount of methylenedioxymethamphetamine, or MDMA, the potent chemical once found in ecstasy tablets, saw a new generation of clubbers seek alternative substances.

    At the peak of its popularity, ecstasy was rarely out of the news with the designer drug blamed for a spate of deaths, often wrongly.

    Just under 7% of 16 to 24-year-olds reported using ecstasy, according to the British crime survey of 2000-01, with more recent figures suggesting that the proportion had fallen to less than 4%.

    Now, according to Drugscope, the organisation that monitors street prices of illicit substances, ecstasy is back in demand as producers reintroduce it as a "premium" product. The Drugscope survey found that, after an absence of more than a decade, high MDMA-content ecstasy was on sale in half of the 20 towns and cities featured in its annual survey of the UK drugs scene.

    In some parts of the country, pills are selling for up to £15 each, pushing the average price of ecstasy up to £4 from last year's average of £2.65. At the millennium, some very low strength pills were selling for as little as £1 each.

    The increase in potency has reduced the number of pills people are taking, with one or two pills sufficing instead of five or more, according to Drugscope, whose findings correspond with a growing body of research produced by a team at Lancaster University that suggests the market in ecstasy is fragmenting.

    The team, led by Fiona Measham, a senior lecturer in criminology, observed that a two-tier market in ecstasy had opened up. "Generic" ecstasy pills, which have a minor stimulative effect but which do not necessarily contain an active dose of MDMA, sell for about £3 each, as compared with those ecstasy pills that contain an active dose of MDMA, which sell for about £10 each.

    The team also noted that in the summer of 2011 there emerged "exceptionally high strength ecstasy" that contained a "much higher dose of MDMA than seen in recent years".

    Earlier work by the team identified a burgeoning market in MDMA powder or "crystal". Its survey of 109 clubbers found evidence that the popularity of MDMA in powder form was usurping that of ecstasy tablets. In terms of recent usage, 31% of respondents reported having had MDMA powder or crystal within the last month, whereas 28% reported having taken ecstasy pills.

    The powder is also popular on the post-club scene. The Lancaster survey found that 21% of respondents reported that their favourite drug, or combination of drugs, to take at "chill out" parties after clubbing included MDMA powder, compared with 15% who preferred ecstasy pills.

    "People who do ecstasy really love ecstasy," Measham said. "There's a real fondness for it, and so when good quality MDMA has come on the scene people have started using it again. People say they become more the person they want to be when doing it. If you want to be more loving or affectionate, there is a belief that ecstasy will help you. If you want to be the best dancer on the dancefloor, the same goes."

    A belief that mephedrone would usurp ecstasy has not been realised, according to the Lancaster study, which found evidence that the former "legal high", also called "meow", has supplemented, "rather than displaced, ecstasy use among ecstasy users".

    Ecstasy is traditionally manufactured in the Netherlands, but there is emerging evidence that Chinese chemists are stepping up their production of the high-strength version of the drug and are exporting it direct to the UK.

    Some of the ecstasy now being sold in the UK contains the same amount of MDMA as the premium strength pills sold at the height of the rave scene 20 years ago.

    Anecdotal evidence suggests that the powder form of ecstasy is becoming increasingly popular on campuses. There are suggestions that younger users enjoy the ritual of taking a drug in powder form, associating it with cocaine. "There's a social element to it now," Measham said. "People will buy a bag and share it round, 'redosing' throughout the night. In the past, when it was just tablets, people would take it in the toilet and off they would go. It's now like cocaine in the 90s. People chop up lines and do it together. It's become a shared experience."

    The increased MDMA levels found in ecstasy, a class A narcotic that, according to the drug advice service Frank, produces "an energy buzz that makes people feel alert, alive, in tune with their surroundings, and with sounds and colours often experienced as more intense" offers only one explanation for its resurgence in popularity.

    Measham believes that, as ecstasy was the drug of choice on the club scene for 10 to 15 years, the emergence of the powder version has given it new cachet, as "each generation of young people want to make its own mark on the world".

    But the emergence of ecstasy in powder form has also seen the drug attract new types of user. Measham and her team noted: "MDMA powder/crystal potentially offers increased profit margins for suppliers, as well as – for adult users of recreational drugs – an apparently 'premium' product with which to distinguish themselves from teenage 'pillheads'."

    According to Frank, short-term risks associated with ecstasy can include a feeling of anxiety, paranoia or even psychosis. Its effects take about half an hour to kick in and tend to last between three and six hours, followed by a gradual comedown.

    "The interesting issue is how this will affect the night-time economy," Measham said. "How will it change the atmosphere in clubs where currently it's all about cocaine and drinking?

    "When ecstasy first came on to the rave scene there was a lot of hugging and affection, but that's not cool now in clubs. Are we going to see another summer of love?"

    CASE STUDY: 'It is so popular because it works. There's a reason it's called ecstasy' – Simon, 26

    I have taken ecstasy many times, starting at the age of about 18. I used to do it a lot, as times were free and easy then. I take it a lot less these days - as there simply isn't the time or the money. I think I've done MDMA once this year.

    I used to take ecstasy mainly as pills or tablets. However, after a bad experience with a pill, I trust them less these days and try to find the drug in its pure form. I must say that was the only bad experience I have ever had with the drug. I felt horrible, having pins and needles all over my body and vomiting - I felt like I was about to collapse. Clearly this was a "bad pill". I bought it in a club - a stupid thing to do which I have never repeated.

    MDMA, the proper name for the drug, comes mainly as crystals - this is what I prefer to do, as I can recognise the look and taste of it. But it is a lot more expensive, costing around £50 a gram. Pills you can find for about £3 to £5 each.

    You can mix it with alcohol - I often do. You can do it with other drugs as well.

    MDMA has been a drug I have known to be in this country for decades now. The reason it is so popular is that it works. There is a reason it's called ecstasy. I know lots of people who have done it, do still do, and do it perfectly safely.

    I'm from a middle-class background, but I know of people from all social backgrounds who have done and do ecstasy.

    It's quite an inclusive drug, bringing people together.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/nov/20/ecstasy-returns-to-clubs
  16. shroooom
    From what I gather, a lot of people now just use the pure crystal form. I went to raves a few months ago and it was just everywhere. No one was on pills.
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