Ecstasy and cocaine-devouring partygoers are risking their lives because dealers are selling super-strong drugs on the streets, it was revealed in new findings from a drug charity yesterday.
Ecstasy pills are reaching London and Wales at as much as double strength. Where the usual purity is 30-40%, this year some pills have been found as much as 90%.
One possible explanation for the high doses is that drug dealers are producing super strength cocaine and ecstasy to lure users away from other substances, such as the stimulant mephedrone, also known as meow, meow.
“It doesn’t seem to make a lot of economic sense to be putting drugs on the street at that level of purity, so exactly what’s going on is difficult to gauge,” said Harry Shapiro, communications director of drugs information charity Drugscope yesterday at a press conference in City University London.
“Pure doesn’t equal safe,” he added. “People assume that just because drugs are cut, that automatically makes them more dangerous.” In other words, an ecstasy pill that has been cut with who-knows-what could, in theory, be much safer than a 100% pure dose.
However, Mr Shapiro stressed that this was no fast rule. He added: “It’s all down to your individual metabolism.”
A sharp increase in women dying from cocaine-related deaths has also left researchers struggling to find the hidden reason.
“People don’t know what they’re buying,” said Mr Shapiro. He stressed the lethal danger that arises when “people are taking an ecstasy pill that is normally 100mg and then suddenly swallowing something that’s 200mg.”
Deaths from illegal drugs rose by a massive 20% last year, from 1,636 in 2012 to 1,957 in 2013. If this trend of stronger street drugs continues, then the UK may see further rises in the coming years.