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Hospitalisations from MDMA tablets reported as Donkey Kong MDMA

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This briefing outlines information on MDMA tablets that have been linked to three adults in South Wales who were hospitalised following consumption of MDMA tablets.  This alert is based on anecdotal evidence and has not been forensically confirmed – as such is for dissemination to raise awareness and prevent further adverse events. 

Donkey Kong MDMA

As you may be aware from the press, and based on available evidence, three hospitalisation have been reported amongst young adults in Cardiff following consumption of MDMA tablets called Donkey Kong.  In addition, one fatality has been reported and is currently under investigation by Gwent Police.  Samples of these tablets have not been available to test in WEDINOS to date and as such it is not possible to establish whether they are contaminated with other psychoactive substances or and very potent tablets. 

Whilst these MDMA tablets are one of many types of MDMA in circulation in Wales, given the adverse effects reported, it is advisable to prevent use as far as possible, and to provide appropriate information to individuals at risk of, or determined to use MDMA.

Ecstasy / MDMA

MDMA is a psychoactive, commonly sold in the “ecstasy” tablet. It is known for its empathogenic, euphoric, and stimulant effects. New MDMA tablet designs, in various colours, shapes and brand logos, are constantly being introduced into the market.

Over the past few years there has been an increase in production of and content within MDMA tablets.  MDMA content varies from batch to batch and tablet to tablet.  So MDMA tablets may vary in strength and time to onset of effects even if they look the same.  It is not possible to know the strength or content of a pill by looking at it.  Information from a dealer is not reliable.

Evidence from WEDINOS testing of MDMA shows that strength of tablets has increased over the last year, a trend seen across Europe.  Testing results from 135 samples in 2017 indicated an average dose 156mg up from 129mg in 2016.  For more information go to:

 www.wedinos.org or http://www.wedinos.org/resources/downloads/Philtre_Annual_Report_2017-18.pdf

Doses over 120mg MDMA should be considered as high and users should be aware that they are at increased risk of adverse effects. Adverse effects of MDMA use can include: visual hallucinations, confusion, agitation, hypertension, seizures and coma. Fatalities have been described in individuals who have consumed 150mg MDMA.  Effects occur within 1 hour and last 4-6 hours after 75-150 mg, and up to 48 hours after 100-300 mg. Health professionals: please refer to TOXBASE for current management advice.

Individuals who are determined to use should not be apathetic in their approach.

Harm Reduction advice:

If you are going to take ecstasy avoid taking a whole pill, and absolutely do not double drop.

•  Start with half a pill or even quarter of a pill and wait at least 2 hours before re-dosing. 
• Be aware that pills being sold as ecstasy may contain other drugs such as PMA which can be stronger, longer lasting and more dangerous.  PMA can also take longer to have an effect. Unless it is tested you cannot be sure what you are taking.
• Take time to relax regularly and cool down to avoid overheating.
• Effects can be more intense if snorting so start with a small amount to see how it affects you.
• Avoid mixing with depressant drugs, especially alcohol which can dull the effects of ecstasy and increases your chance of dehydration.
• If it feels different from what you are expecting, or if you feel nothing after a long wait (which you should not from a MDMA pill), do not take any more in the hope that increasing the dose will increase the positive psychoactive effects. Do not take any more MDMA-related products either.
• When taking Ecstasy / MDMA don’t drink too much water. Sip a pint of water per hour max.
• Use in a safe environment with trusted company.
• Tell someone you are with what you are taking.

You can download the full WEDINOS briefing here for further information about the drug, which also includes harm reduction advice.

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