Over the last couple of years, we’ve been hearing reports of high-dose MDMA pills being implicated in a number of hospitalisations and deaths in UK and Europe. Last year we detected a couple of very large pills in our testing, and despite it being early in the festival season, this year we are detecting more.
We use reagent testing and FT-IR spectrometry to identify the content of a sample. This technology cannot ascertain purity, only content – however if a result shows a sample as containing mostly MDMA and the pill it came from is large, we can make an educated guess that this pill may contain a larger than usual dose of MDMA.
This has been the case for a number of pills we have seen so far this season. We are finding pills weighing up to 340mg in which the main ingredient is identified as MDMA, suggesting potential content of up to 2-3 times an average adult recreational dose, which is very risky to ingest. We have also seen one pill that weighed 580mg – although we believe this is an outlier.
Our advice to the public is to be aware that high-dose MDMA pills may well be out there, and to approach all substances sold as MDMA or ecstasy with extreme caution. The safest approach is to not take it at all. If choosing to take it anyway, do not assume that one pill or capsule equals one dose. Do not insufflate (snort) it. We recommend consuming only a fraction of the pill or capsule and then waiting at least an hour before having more. This will not affect the experience, only delay it. Our colleagues in the UK, The Loop, recommend Crush Dab Wait.
Specific pressed pills we recommend to approach with caution include green guccis (rectangular, bright green and has the Gucci logo), and yellow rolexes (shaped like the Rolex crown, bright yellow). These pills have been estimated to potentially contain a larger than usual amount of MDMA. Another pill that may contain an excessive dose is bright pink, shaped like a shield, and has the Porsche logo. Users have reported having unpleasant experiences with these pills, and testing found the pink porsches may contain dangerous pharmaceutical agents in addition to high doses of MDMA.
One final word: we know some people like to think they are hardcore and that warnings about high dose MDMA are a joke – please take this seriously, even one death from this would be too many. It’s better to err on the side of caution and stay alive. Remember, if you’re taking a substance of unknown dose or purity, only take a fraction at a time and wait at least an hour before having more.
We will continue to update throughout the festival season with information about anything of concern that we are finding.