Ecstasy Death Rates 2001: Two More UK Fatalities
Saturday, June 30, 2001London police issued an ecstasy amnesty this week following the deaths of two teenagers suspected of taking 'contaminated' ecstasy pills. Police fear that more people may have bought the suspect pills, which are white with a five pointed crown logo with long thin spikes (check the link below for images). The two victims were discovered outside the EC1 club (previously known as the Drome) which had recently re-opened, and had been attending an old skool Raindance event. A third person is still in critical condition while a further 6 required hospitalisation.
"If you have drugs and haven't taken them you should hand them in to the police," said Superintendent Wayne Smith. "It is not our intention to prosecute anyone for possession of these controlled drugs. This is to encourage people to speak freely with us to trace the origins of the contaminated batch. Your action may save lives."
Following the last ecstasy related death in England several months ago (of 19 year old Lorna Spinks), the victim's mother suggested that ecstasy testing might have prevented her daughter's death and it's clear that the present system of outright prohibition is failing to prevent fatalities. Dutch clubbers have for years been allowed to test their pills inside clubs and despite Holland being the centre of worldwide ecstasy production, few fatalities have occurred. Death rates from ecstasy use in the UK also remain extremely low compared to other drugs like alcohol and even sports like skiing and scuba diving. While ecstasy is estimated to kill less than British ten people a year, recent figures on scuba diving accidents revealed that in recent months "there has been an average of one fatality a week in the notoriously difficult waters off Scotland" (The Guardian) suggesting 50 divers a year are dying in Scotland alone.
Most ecstasy related deaths have also been linked with dehydration and victims overheating and last weekend in London was certainly unusually hot and humid. South African harm reduction organisation Rave Safe have also compiled guidelines for a simple test users can do on a small sample of a pill, which confirms if MDMA is present. For more details check their website:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/uk/newsid_1409000/1409488.stm (picture of the danger pill)
http://www.met.police.uk (London Metropolitan Police)