Ecstasy intake falls after global crackdown

Ecstasy pills are disappearing from the club scene with users looking to uncharted new drugs for highs

Real ecstasy pills are rapidly disappearing from the British club scene as legal alternatives flurry in the face of massively reduced MDMA supplies.

Almost all of the tablets seized by police are now testing negative for MDMA – the active chemical in ecstasy – an investigation for Radio 1 Newsbeat suggests. Of the 1,848 tablets seized by authorities last year, just 154 contained MDMA.

‘It’s a huge drop,’ said Dean Aimes at the Forensic Science Service. ‘The pill market has changed and we see very few ecstasy tablets now.’

Both dealers and law enforcement agencies say a global crackdown is to thank for huge decline in the infamous party drug. Authorities across the world have tightened up controls on the export and import of substances like PMK – a synthetic chemical used in the manufacture of MDMA.

However, some believe the shortage has caused people to seek alternatives in relatively uncharted grounds of drugs, like mephedrone and methylone.

‘People might think they’re taking ecstasy, but they aren’t,’ said Dr John Ramsay, from St George’s. ‘You can take too much and overdose or just have a bad time. The truth is you never know quite what you’re going to get.’

The annual British crime survey suggests more than 540,000 16 – 59-year-olds take ecstasy at least once a year, making it third most popular drug after cannabis and cocaine.

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