New batches of fake MDMA and ecstasy pills are being found to contain the potentially lethal drug N-ethylpentylone.
Drug testing group The Loop have issued a warning about yellow ‘Super Mario’ pills found to contain the chemical being sold at UK festivals, which has caused deaths and hospitalisations among users in the past.
The Loop say the substance can cause paranoia and insomnia, while experts have outlined that it is three times as strong as MDMA, which could potentially lead to overdosing in people who take it in the same way they would MDMA.
One pill tested positive for the chemical at Boardmasters in Cornwall at the weekend, with The Loop saying that N-Ethylpentylone – also known just as Pentylone – was also detected in drugs sold as MDMA at Bestival.
The Loop tweeted the warning, saying: ‘Yellow Supermario pill containing N-ethylpentylone tested at #Boardmasters2018. May cause severe insomnia and paranoia. The pill was bought in Cornwall so more may be in circulation.’
The Loop’s director Fiona Measham previously told Metro.co.uk that Pentylone is about three times stronger than MDMA and kept some people up for 96 hours after taking it.
‘It looks the same and it smells the same as MDMA,’ she said.
‘At the moment it tends to be a problem with dealers selling this on site. And people don’t know until they try it.
‘There were people at Bestival who had been awake for three or four days after taking it.’
The substance looks identical to MDMA in crystal form and has similar effects at first but the high wears off more quickly which causes people to take more and more to chase a buzz that never returns.
Although users feel a quick euphoric high when they first take the drug, this can lead to three days of sleepless nights, paranoia and psychosis.
N-Ethylpentylone, which can also cause increased body temperature, anxiety and agitation, has also been in circulation in New Zealand and Australia, where it has been linked with deaths and casualties.
It is said to have similar qualities to PMA – another drug that is similar to MDMA but can kill at much lower doses.
What is PMA?
According to drug charity Frank, PMA is similar to MDMA (the chemical in ecstasy) and is sometimes sold as ecstasy.
However, PMA is more poisonous and can kill at lower doses than MDMA. Like MDMA, it can cause a fatal rise in body temperature.
The effects of PMA can a take a while to kick-in so there’s a risk of the user double-dosing to compensate, risking a fatal overdose.
In recent years there have been a number of deaths and hospitalisations linked to PMA. It appears those affected thought they were taking ecstasy pills containing MDMA and did not know that the pills contained PMA.
Mixing PMA with alcohol can have serious consequences – the effects of PMA are increased, making a user more likely to experience its negative effects.
Find out more here.