29 August 2013
Islanders are being warned about the dangers of new recreational 'legal highs' which are believed to have caused multiple deaths in the UK this summer. These substances can be more dangerous than the drugs they are designed to mimic, such as cocaine or ecstasy.
The focus is on a new type of ecstasy which is believed to be circulating throughout Jersey. Islanders have been advised to avoid such substances or at least to consider all the risks.
This new type of ecstasy contains para-methoxyamphetamine (PMA), an ecstasy derivative that is several times stronger than the original methylenedioxy-methamphetamine (MDMA). Pills containing PMA may not take effect as quickly, giving the added risk of overdose when users take extra pills.
The pills involved include:
- Red Mitsubishi
- Pink McDonald
- Pink Ecstasy
- Mitsubishi Turbo
- Dr Death
- Double Stacked
- Chicken Fever
- Green Rolex
Michael Gafoor, Director of Jersey’s Drug and Alcohol Service, said that those who chose to ignore warnings to avoid the use of these products should:
- avoid injecting or mixing with other drugs, including alcohol
- avoid using alone and limit the amount they use
- regulate levels of physical activity and fluid intake to mitigate against the danger of a rise in body temperature
- seek urgent medical help if they feel unwell, or a friend feels unwell. This means calling an ambulance in the event of chest pain or other serious symptoms such as fits or unconsciousness
Michael Gafoor added: “It has become virtually impossible for users to tell whether a recreational drug contains legal ingredients, or not.
“Analysis proves the ingredients of these products are often not as described on the packaging or internet websites. People who thought they were taking legal highs have ended up with convictions for possession of products which contained Class A or Class B controlled drugs, or both.
“It is an increasingly muddled market, with zero quality control as to the accurate identification of contents, their strength or purity.
“People should be aware that despite being advertised as legal and thus somehow safer, these new substances are untried and untested drugs. They are usually not legal, and they definitely aren’t safe.”
Dr Susan Turnbull, Jersey’s Medical Officer of Health, said: “Never mind whether or not these new substances are legal, the mounting evidence is that they can also be lethal. One death already in Jersey is one too many.”
Those thinking of using ecstasy, cocaine and their newer mimics are reminded that they can have serious or potentially fatal side effects.