Mind & Body

Ecstasy deaths linked to added chemical

 | February 6, 2012

The B.C. Coroners Service confirms that paramethoxy-metamphetamine (PMMA) has been linked to five ecstasy-related deaths in B.C. in the past six months.

PMMA is a rare drug, and one which hasn’t been routinely tested for in B.C. coroners’ investigations. Following information from Alberta that PMMA was detected in relation to several deaths in that province, toxicology findings were reviewed in all 16 of B.C.’s 2011 ecstasy-involved deaths and two of the three 2012 deaths. PMMA was found in five cases. As with MDMA (ecstasy), there is no known safe dose of PMMA. 

The B.C. Coroners Service warns that although PMMA was detected in five cases, there were 13 other ecstasy-related deaths in the same period that did not involve PMMA. The most recent death is still being investigated.

“Ecstasy is in our community and, you don’t know where this stuff is coming from, so we could have ecstasy that’s no problem this week, but a great deal of problem next week,” says Constable Bernie Ward, Tk’umlups Rural RCMP. “It’s how it’s made. There’s more than one recipe that can kill you. You’re just an idiot to try it, that’s what it comes down to.”

The Coroners Service concurs saying, “There’s no guarantee of purity in a drug that’s concocted for profit in a clandestine environment and every ingestion of ecstasy is a risk.”