Is it Ecstasy or a Dangerous Lethal Substitute?

Is it Ecstasy or a Dangerous Lethal Substitute?

It's almost uncommon today for drugs and alcohol not to be part of the entertainment when young people are getting together to party or just hang out and socialize anymore. No matter what part of the country you live in, recreational use of drugs and alcohol among many teens and young adults is just not unusual anymore.

It's unfortunate that so many young people feel the need to use mood altering substances to enhance their enjoyment today. If they only understood that the drugs their choosing to abuse could possibly change their lives forever.

When young people experiment with party drugs like ecstasy (MDMA) they really don't understand the risks they're taking with their life or realize they may not live long enough to remember the 'euphoric trip' they were on. This is especially true for people who are unaware the party drug they're taking is really laced with another highly dangerous and potent substance or is a substitute for recreational drugs like ecstasy.

PMMA (Paramethoxymethamphetamine) and PMA (Paramethoxyamphetamine) fall in the same category of drugs that Ecstasy (MDMA) does but they're not the same thing. PMA and PMMA are much stronger, more toxic and more dangerous than ecstasy is. There's no real way of knowing if the party drug your taking contains these toxic drugs unless they're analyzed. Some people are familiar with the ecstasy substitute that circulates on the streets but many people aren't, either way, taking a drug that's laced with PMA or PMMA can be lethal.

What is PMMA?

Paramethoxymethamphetamine is a psychoactive stimulant drug that changes a person's mental state of mind and awareness but also includes dangerous side effects like elevated body temperature and seizures as well as death. PMMA is a synthetic hallucinogenic substance that could lead to a heart attack or stroke. PMMA has a slower reaction time than MDMA (ecstasy) does which makes the drug even more dangerous if a person doesn't know that's what they're taking. Users may tend to repeat their use soon after taking the drug because they think the party drug is weak which can lead to a fatal Paramethoxymethamphetamine overdose.

Paramethoxyamphetamine is another dangerous substance that been out since the 70's and is also a mind altering drug. Other names that have been used to describe PMA include Dr. Death, Chicken Yellow, Death, and Chicken Powder according to PMA is also a synthetic hallucinogenic substance that could lead to a heart attack or stroke.

Like Ecstasy (MDMA), both PMA and PMMA share some of the same side effects like sweating, upset stomach, grinding of the teeth, and dry mouth. Other symptoms that can be experienced include heart palpitations, chest pain, problems speaking, headaches and feeling weak or faint.

Some people are familiar with PMMA and PMA and know what to expect when using the drugs but most people don't. It's not uncommon for ecstasy to be laced with either of the two hallucinogenic substances and sold without anyone knowing the pills they're taking contain the dangerous drugs. There's no way to distinguish the difference between ecstasy or pills that contain PMMA or PMA because they all look relatively the same. The drugs come in colorful pill (tablet) form and have markings or symbols on them like ecstasy does. Many people have thought they were taking ecstasy not knowing the pill was actually an ecstasy substitute that only contained PMMA or PMA and died. The dangerous consequences associated with the use of Paramethoxymethamphetamine or Paramethoxyamphetamine are very serious and life threating when abused by them-self let alone mixed with other drugs or medications. Just taking one pill can be deadly but there are people who take more than one at a time and if they didn't know the party drug they were taking wasn't ecstasy but instead a substitute, the results could be devastating.

Fatality Reports Associated with PMMA and PMA

  1. 2001 report- Several PMA fatalities in Australia and 3 fatalities in Midwestern United States who thought they were taking MDMA according to Deceased were 19, 24 and 18 years old.

  2. 2003 report- 1st lethal case in Norway (16 year old) for PMA and PMMA intoxication according to

  3. 2003 report- 3 fatal PMA and PMMA cases in Denmark in 2000 according to

  4. 2012 report- 24 fatalities in Israel according to

Recent Reports Associated with PMMA and PMA

  1. 2012-The death of a teenage mother who took 3 pills not realizing the pills were a PMA potent form of ecstasy according to The Northern Echo.

  2. 2012-Authorities issue warning in Edmonton due to deaths and non-fatal overdoses associated with PMMA and ecstasy according to the

Young people may think ecstasy substitutes or laced party drugs don't circulate in their neck of the woods but illegal drugs of all kinds are illegally trafficked into the United States from all over the world.

Remember there's no way of telling if ecstasy contains PMMA or PMA and no one wants to find out the hard way like many other people sadly have. Dangerous lethal drugs don't accidentally go by the name 'Dr. Death' for no particular reason so you can be sure unexpected death took place before the street term was given to the drug.

The Northern Echo
Calgary Sun
Alberta Health Services

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