1. Dear Drugs-Forum readers: We are a small non-profit that runs one of the most read drug information & addiction help websites in the world. We serve over 4 million readers per month, and have costs like all popular websites: servers, hosting, licenses and software. To protect our independence we do not run ads. We take no government funds. We run on donations which average $25. If everyone reading this would donate $5 then this fund raiser would be done in an hour. If Drugs-Forum is useful to you, take one minute to keep it online another year by donating whatever you can today. Donations are currently not sufficient to pay our bills and keep the site up. Your help is most welcome. Thank you.
  1. Rob Cypher
    Otherwise known as pink ecstasy, paramethoxyamphetamine has been linked to a spate of recent deaths of young people.

    Last week, an inquest into the death of Travis Barber, a 19-year-old gym instructor from Salford Greater Manchester, highlighted the danger of a drug called PMA. Then, at the weekend, another teenager – 15-year-old Martha Fernback – died in Oxford. Although it is far too early to say what caused Fernback's death, police have said that she took a drug she believed to be ecstasy. But, according to reports, her friends have said that it was PMA. A number of other recent deaths have been linked to the drug, including those of seven young people in Scotland in the last few months. As a recent piece on PMA in the dance music publication Mixmag put it: "This is not just another drug scare story."

    PMA is already a class-A drug; but is it much more dangerous than other illegal substances? "If you compare it to MDMA-related deaths, far fewer people are taking PMA, and there does seem to be the suspicion that people are disproportionately affected," says Harry Sumnall, professor in substance use at the Centre for Public Health at Liverpool John Moores University.

    PMA – the common name for paramethoxyamphetamine – is usually sold in pill form, sometimes stamped with a crown, or M and sometimes pink (hence the nickname "pink ecstasy"). People who take PMA often believe they are taking ecstasy. The drug's effects are similar but they can take up to an hour to be felt, so users may take another pill in the mistaken belief that the first has not worked, resulting in a massive dose.

    "PMA is a potent releaser of serotonin," says Sumnall. "It also prevents the reuptake of serotonin back into neurons and inhibits the enzymes which are responsible for the breakdown of serotonin. This increase in serotonin, especially when PMA is taken in combination with other drugs, can lead to hyperthermia and subsequently, organ failure. Basically people are overheating and collapsing."

    PMA is believed to have been first identified in the United States in the early 1970s. The drug soon became controlled and, says Sumnall, "pretty much disappeared. It then reappeared in the mid-1990s in Australia and there were a few deaths associated with it, then it disappeared again. Now it seems to have reappeared in northern Europe, but particularly in the UK."

    Sumnall adds that other countries, such as the Netherlands, are not reporting deaths associated with PMA. "The Dutch have localised drug testing. Perhaps the distributors think the UK market is less discriminatory." In Britain, he says, "we don't have an effective, localised early-warning system that predicts the arrival of these sorts of drugs. Most of the warnings come after someone has died, which is too late. We don't allow localised tablet testing, where users can identify harmful tablets. It's difficult to know, without a major change in the law, how we're going to implement an effective response to drugs such as PMA."

    Emine Saner
    The Guardian
    July 22, 2013



  1. Guttz
    When class A drugs become cheaper than the average pint, criminalisation has failed

    [imgr=white]http://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=34120&stc=1&d=1374756515[/imgr]It's easier for a teenager to buy dangerous drugs than alcohol. Our policymakers need to wake up and fix this

    On Saturday Martha Fernback, a 15-year-old girl from Oxford, died after taking what she believed was ecstasy. She bought the pill that killed her for just £3 – 21p cheaper than the average pint of beer.

    That ecstasy, or MDMA, is now more affordable than a pint demonstrates beyond all doubt the failure of the policy of criminalisation. Everything, legal or not, has a price, and if such a policy works it is by pushing the cost of undesirable substances up to levels that reduce consumption. Despite the carnage of the war on drugs, the trend has instead been for a steady and significant decrease in average prices across the board. Ecstasy is now half the price it was in 2001, while the most recent drugs report from the Department of Health suggests that the mean street price of both cocaine and heroin decreased by £9 per gram between 2005 and 2010.

    The end result is that ecstasy is as readily available as cheap alcohol; far more so if you're a 15-year-old girl. Drug pushers have a positive incentive to target curious, rebellious, gullible children with a lifetime of potential addiction ahead of them; pubs have everything to lose by selling to under age customers.

    If legal, the same strict age restrictions could and should be enforced on the sale of recreational drugs. A determined 15-year-old might still be able to obtain ecstasy, as they currently obtain alcohol, but they wouldn't be the subject of a targeted marketing campaign. They would also be sure that the substance they'd got their hands on was, as promised, MDMA – not plant fertiliser, or rat poison or, as suspected in Martha's case, the super-strength amphetamine PMA.

    If recreational drugs were standardised and bought in a box from Boots alongside "behind the counter" medicines, users would know exactly what they were getting. A packet of paracetamol stresses that the safe dose is one to two tablets every four to six hours; a bottle of wine points out that it contains 13 per cent alcohol and an aspirin box warns against mixing its contents with ibuprofen. Unlike the 17-year-old boy arrested on suspicion of supplying Martha with the fatal pill, the manufacturers of these products were well aware that they would be held accountable for any mishaps or misinformation. Had Martha known the true composition of what she was about to ingest she almost certainly wouldn’t have taken it, but a purported ecstasy pill is a totally unknown chemical cocktail – alone and unlabelled in a small plastic bag. Far more unknown, indeed, than it was 10 years ago: between 2003 and 2009, the purity of the ecstasy seized by police decreased by 21 per cent; for cocaine it more than halved.

    Supporters of the current approach argue that criminalisation deters drug users as well as suppliers. The real effect of this deterrent has simply been to engineer a surge in the use of legal highs: drugs that are not permitted because they have been deemed safe after rigorous testing, but because they are so new and mysterious that authorities have not yet had time to ban them. The past five years have seen a fourfold increase in the number of deaths attributed to such substances. Hardly a preferable alternative.

    For every £3 pint of beer, around £1 goes to the Government and helps fund heathcare, education and infrastructure. For every £3 ecstasy tablet, £3 goes to criminals and helps fund organised crime. As stamping out the use of recreational drugs has proved impossible, it is surely far better that the trade is properly regulated; children are protected and some financial public benefit is gained to balance out the undeniable costs.

    The Americans didn’t abandon prohibition in 1933 because they changed their minds about the harmfulness of alcohol, but because it became apparent that the primary effect of making its sale illegal was to amplify the damage it did to society. Re-legalising alcohol was a piece of admirably evidence-based policymaking after a worthwhile but failed experiment with criminalisation. Martha’s case illustrates the need for a similarly level-headed approach to Britain’s drug problem.

    By Carola Binney
    1:13PM BST 24 Jul 2013
  2. nomud
    Re: When class A drugs become cheaper than the average pint, criminalisation has fail

    MDMA overdoses are rare.The pill dosed is suspected to be PMA (p-methoxyamphetamine).
    Very sad, pretty young girl's life is over.There are no do overs.It is well known the
    toxicity of PMA.The manufacturer should be held to maximum legal criminal punishment.Even
    though deaths due to "ethical" pharmaceuticals are generally civil infractions.
  3. Alien Sex Fiend
    para-Methoxyamphetamine (PMA; "Death", "Dr. Death", "Pink ecstasy", "Chicken Powder", "Chicken Yellow"), also known as 4-methoxyamphetamine (4-MA), is a serotonergic drug of the amphetamine class.[1][2] Unlike other similar drugs of this family, PMA does not produce stimulant, euphoriant, or entactogen effects,[3] and behaves more like an antidepressant in comparison,[citation needed] though it does have some psychedelic properties.[4][5] known since 70s, death from tachycardia.
  4. DazedforDays

    Edit: My apologies
  5. Rob Cypher
    PMA killed a friend of mine from high school back in the late 90s when it was being spread as "MDMA" then. Sad to see it still being spread on streets all these years later.
  6. Docta
    Its the sale to unsuspecting buyers that consume in the belief that there dropping a standard MDMA Ecstasy tablet that is the real killer.

    This drug PMA and its sister drug PMMA, the 4-methoxy analog of methamphetamine are absolutely horrifying. Alfa asked for an immediate update to the PMMA wiki so I found myself going through field reports from hot spots in Iberia along with admission reports form ER's all over the world. Netherlands, Iceland, Canada, UK, Australia, South Africa,Hong Kong ...you name it this drug has gotten into every corner of the world and the common denominator is always taking what is considered a high recreational dose of MDMA that turned out to be a fatal dose of PMA or PMMA.

    The biggest problem by far is the typical dose-response curve experienced by MDMA users. It becomes akin to a learned mussel memory. There body is attuned to the markers for the response curve and through that can feel it cumming on even if the stimulant and psychedelic properties haven't manifested. If PMA or PMMA have been consumed typical dose-response curve experienced is not there because PMA and PMMA have a much steaper dose-response curve manifestineg as an unrecognized exposure–response relationship. There is no feeling of it coming on, any sensation that can be connected with the typical dose-response curve experienced in MDMA is not perceived at any level.

    The experience of an atypical dose–response relationship leads a user to believe they've been given a dud pill so they do one of two things. They re dose with the original PMA or PMMA pill in the hope of generating effect or they find a source of MDMA and consume the MDMA unknowing that at around the 2-3hour mark the sudden onset will manifest. From this point on there is no going back and no simple treatment, from this point a serious medical emergency will defiantly take place as the user is now above the usual recreational dose range for PMA or PMMA.

    The re dose of MDMA is reported to have a synergistic effect that seems to be particularly hazardous with the overdose leading to some of the most horrific symptoms I have encountered in my time on the forum. Typerthermia, tachycardia, and hypertension the most common but other complications like cerebral hemorrhage and convoltions of a force you wouldn't think humanly possible. There's no magic bullet antidote all treatment is symptomatic.

    Any suspected case of PMA or PMMA needs medical help immediately, even if there paranoia and you don't believe then call an ambulance or take them to the ER immediately. Early intervention is crucial to assist in favorable outcomes, PMA and PMMA elevates body temperatures dramatically this will be the first sign of significant toxicity, from this moment on any delay in the time it takes to get to a hospital will decide the out come. Thankfully the the majority users suffering life threatening toxicity survive if treatment is given in time. Predominately through the quick intervention of individuals on the lookout for trouble signs in the dance world.

    The downside of reading all these admission reports form ER's and there treatments is they have a chilling underlying fact that I think we all here should be aware of. Patients with a core body temperature over 40°C at the time they reach the hospital are basically fucked and that's from the Journal of Toxicology, they may have used less offensive words like a tend of poor prognosis but that is just doctor talk for your fucked.
    (principle citation for these remarks listed below)

    I advise any body within any country with a current alert for PMA or PMMA to use the EZ test specific reagent test, there dirt cheap and will safe your life.

    Dancing with "death": p-methoxyamphetamine overdose and its acute management. J Toxicol Clin Toxicol. 2003;41(2):143-54.
  7. Phenoxide
    Martha Fernback ecstasy death: Mother calls for drugs legalisation

    [IMGR="white"]http://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=39137&stc=1&d=1402680127[/IMGR]A woman whose 15-year-old daughter died after taking ecstasy has called for drugs to be legalised and regulated.

    Anne-Marie Cockburn urged politicians to change UK drug policy after the inquest into the death of her daughter Martha Fernback. Oxford schoolgirl Martha suffered a cardiac arrest on 20 July 2013, after swallowing half a gram of 91% pure MDMA powder in the city's Hinksey Park.

    "Martha wanted to get high, she didn't want to die," said Ms Cockburn.

    "No parent wants either, but one of those is preferable to the other," she said after the hearing at Oxfordshire Coroner's Court.

    The inquest heard that the average street-level purity of ecstasy is 58%. Oxfordshire coroner Darren Salter recorded a verdict of accidental death.

    Ms Cockburn said: "It has been 328 days since my precious girl was safely by my side.

    "I wish Martha was sitting her GCSEs alongside her friends at school right now.

    "I wish the drug education she received had enabled her to make a more fully informed decision, instead of leaving her so vulnerable and in danger.

    "I would like to meet with Theresa May, Norman Baker and Yvette Cooper to start a sensible dialogue for change, from prohibition to strict and responsible regulation of recreational drugs.

    "This will help to safeguard our children and lead to a safer society for us all by putting doctors and pharmacists, not dealers, in control of drugs."

    Crime prevention minister Norman Baker said: "All drug-related deaths are tragic and my sympathy goes to Martha's mother.

    "The UK's approach on drugs remains clear: we must prevent drug use in our communities, help dependent individuals through treatment and wider recovery support, while ensuring law enforcement protects society by stopping the supply."

    He added: "We do not assume that we have nothing to learn from others, which is why we are conducting an international study to examine the approaches other countries are taking on drugs."

    Following Martha's death, Ms Cockburn set up a website and has written a book called 5,742 days - the number of days Martha lived - to tell others about the dangers of drugs.

    Alex Williams, 17, of Sycamore Road, Botley, was given a community sentence in March for supplying the drugs that killed Martha.

    In March, Ms Cockburn told the BBC she wanted to work with Williams to offer drug education talks to young people.

    BBC News
    12th June 2014

  8. Rob Cypher
    Martha Fernback, 15, died from taking 91% pure ecstasy. Anne-Marie Cockburn is campaigning for drug legalization to spare others her ordeal

    On 17 July 1971 the US president, Richard Nixon, announced what has become known as the war on drugs, instigating an unrelenting campaign that has cost hundreds of thousands of lives and billions of dollars.

    On the same date, 42 years later, in north Oxford, Martha Fernback, 15, and a friend bought a plastic sachet holding a crystallised gram of MDMA for £40 from a dealer. It was no impulse buy. Martha’s online history revealed she had meticulously researched the risks of the drug and opted to buy its most expensive variant, assuming the better quality it was, the safer it would be.

    One of the myriad ramifications of Nixon’s hardline stance has meant buying drugs is a fraught and risk-laden business: users do not know what they are taking. In Martha’s case better quality meant greater purity. She had no idea that her batch was 91% pure compared with an average street level of 58%. Around lunchtime on 20 July last year Martha swallowed her 0.5 gram and within two hours was dead, the MDMA inducing cardiac failure.

    The response of her mother, Anne-Marie Cockburn, 42, was unusual. She refused to blame her daughter, her friends, or the dealer or the manufacturer. Cockburn, a single mother, focused on a greater target: the government.

    “It quickly became obvious that prohibition had had its chance but failed,” she said. “Martha is a sacrificial lamb under prohibition. The question is: how many more Marthas have to die before we change our approach? It’s not acceptable to allow the risks to remain.”

    The risks of drug use under prohibition were articulated again last weekend when another 15-year-old, Rio Andrew, died, apparently oblivious to the strength of the drug he had taken. Witnesses saw Rio, from Notting Hill, west London, drinking beer laced with the so-called party drug ketamine. Another partygoer, aged 19, who drank from the same bottle at a rave in Croydon, south London, reportedly ended up in hospital. The death comes months after ministers reclassified ketamine from Class C to B because of its physical and psychological dangers amid its enduring popularity.

    As the anniversary of Martha’s death nears, Anne-Marie Cockburn is emerging as the face of the campaign to expose the flaws of prohibition and push for the legalisation and regulation of drugs. Her efforts have touched a nerve; hundreds of mothers who have also had to bury a child because of drugs have been in touch, many from South America – in particular Mexico and Colombia where the war on drugs has wreaked most havoc. In Mexico more than 80,000 people have died in the last five years, with another 20,000 “disappeared” while drugs are cheaper and more plentiful than ever.

    Cockburn has also been contacted by police, nurses and doctors who have all privately backed her calls to legalise Britain’s drug trade. “It’s like I’ve thrown a pebble into the ocean, it’s rippling everywhere,” she said, noting that a number of countries have recently begun to deviate from the prohibition line. On Thursday6 June thousands of people worldwide are expected to march in more than 80 cities, including London, to protest against the decades-long impact of Nixon’s strategy which they blame for compromising health, triggering instability and mass incarceration.

    Among the parents supporting Cockburn’s campaign are those of 18-year-old Leah Betts, who died after taking ecstasy in 1995, prompting her parents to launch a campaign to promote drug awareness among teenagers. Days before the tenth anniversary of her death, however, Leah’s parents decided to wind up their initiative, declaring that they had been betrayed by the government.

    Cockburn remains undeterred by the prospect of political inertia. She is drafting a letter to the home secretary, Theresa May, and her opposition counterpart, Yvette Cooper, stressing the case for an urgent appraisal of the drug laws. She appreciates that in the runup to a general election such a move requires deep reserves of political courage although she takes succour from the fact that David Cameron, as a young MP, endorsed more lenient penalties for ecstasy possession and sat on a parliamentary committee that called for an international debate on the legalisation of drugs.

    Unfortunately for reformers, his tenure as prime minister so far has seen him accept the existing orthodoxy. Similarly, the latest noises from inside Labour are depressing for those convinced a new look at drugs is required; the party is apparently intent on avoiding the issue.

    “The timing is not ideal, but the timing was not right for me, I was not ready to bury my daughter,” said Cockburn, an engaging and articulate presence who is adept at mixing the personal and political. The scale of her challenge is neatly emphasised by the fact that the stimulant plant khat will become a class C drug on Tuesday after 60 years of being legally imported into the UK, almost solely by Kenyans and Somalis.

    Already she has had a taste of how detached modern politicians can appear. A handwritten letter from her Tory MP, Nicola Blackwood, arrived recently at Cockburn’s Oxford home; it was the response to a letter Martha had sent almost a year ago detailing her concerns about mental health provision for young people in the city.

    “The MP had sent a handwritten letter to a dead teenager. She lives about a mile from here. Had she not heard of my daughter?” she said.

    Cockburn hopes Martha will become known to many in the years ahead as she promotes her message of a safety-first approach to drugs. Her vision sees the schoolchildren of the future able to buy clearly labelled drugs from regulated sources; future users will know whether a batch is 91% pure.

    Alongside the introduction of drugs education into schools, the system would allow the government to seize control of a trade now the preserve of organised gangs. “Surely it’s better than criminals running it? It’s about safety. At the moment young people are buying drugs with a blank label. You’re not going to stop young people taking risks, experimenting. It’s about harm reduction. You want to live in a safe society? This is about safety,” said Cockburn.

    The latest Home Office figures show that nearly one in 10 adults had used an illegal drug in the previous 12 months and more than a third of adults had taken an illicit drug in their lifetime.

    Campaigners point to the fact that half the prison population is serving a sentence for drug-related offences with half of all property crime committed by drug users requiring cash. About £1.5bn of the £2.5bn spent on the UK’s drug strategy goes on enforcement.

    Danny Kushlick of the drug campaign group Transform, which says that two-thirds of the UK public supports a review of drug policy, said: “A political vacuum has been created by the non-engagement of Labour and Conservatives in the drug policy reform debate. Parliament is effectively denying the UK public the opportunity to see the evidence for and against drug policy reform being laid out,” he said.

    “Anne-Marie [Cockburn], in her measured and sombre way, has occupied that space, bringing a much needed honesty and pragmatism to the issue. But change is urgently required and sadly many more will die before parliament collectively grabs the opportunity for change,” said Kushlick.

    Cockburn’s campaign embraces the principles of restorative justice to replace the punitive system of putting users and small-time dealers in jail from where they are likely to reoffend. Recently she visited Parc prison in Bridgend, south Wales, and told Martha’s story to 22 inmates, many serving sentences for drug offences. All were reduced to tears. One has since written a song in tribute to Martha. “If you trust people, treat them like humans, they will repay you,” she said. Cockburn is also planning to write to Alex Williams, 17, the Oxford dealer who sold Martha the “exceptionally” pure MDMA – for which he received a three-month curfew and 18-month youth rehabilitation order – believing that he is also a victim of the approach to drugs.

    She is adamant that Martha’s death will touch a nerve with young children’s parents. “I’m just a normal person who speaks normally to others,” said Cockburn, whose book 5,742 Days, the number of days her daughter lived, chronicles her grief and struggle to make sense of her loss.

    “In some ways I woke up once Martha was gone. Although it’s so painful, I feel so alive, I feel everything and I have all this time and energy that I had devoted to Martha that I can now dedicate to changing things for the better,” she said.

    Martha, she adds, will never be forgotten by anybody who met her, describing how the teenager would walk her three-legged rabbit, Bluebell, around the local streets to the delight of their neighbours and that her favourite film was Some Like It Hot.

    But Cockburn cannot shake the sense of dread accompanying the start of the music festival season and the likelihood of the first drug-related death, which she likens to the sense of impotence she felt when learning that her daughter and her friends were dabbling with drugs. “I’m just waiting for the next one. What’s driving me forward is the hope that I can stop a mother feeling like I do now.”

    On the anniversary of Martha’s death next month, Cockburn plans to hold a picnic by the Oxford lake where she collapsed; a ceremony to mark one year on a mother’s journey to change the lives of millions.

    Mark Towsend
    The Observer
    June 22, 2014

To make a comment simply sign up and become a member!