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Oh, and

Not by me, but obviously relevant, is this Thursday piece by my National Post colleague Kevin Libin, who became curious/skeptical about my observations on the recent northern Alberta ecstasy deaths and decided to retrace my steps to see if his beat-pounding feet took him in the same direction. Meanwhile, the local papers continue to struggle with the concept of not reporting what they cannot possibly know: an early version of this brief Friday morning Journal story once again used the phrase "ecstasy overdose" to describe the Paul Band deaths (I can't find a cached version but my memory of having Froot Loops and milk fly out my nose is very distinct), but the text has since, gratifyingly, been changed.

(Not to sound like a broken record—and I know it's many weeks too late—but if those girls did die of what can be described as an "overdose", there seems to be no earthly way a charge of criminal negligence causing death can be sustained against their dealer.)


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I worked for a few years with the drug harm reduction group, DanceSafe-SoCal in the Greater Los Angeles Area, and we tested a lot of pills at parties and clubs.

A *lot* of "ecstasy" pills do indeed contain a lot of things that aren't ecstasy at all. And some of those added ingredients can be quite dangerous.

Overdosing on actual ecstasy itself is possible, but rare. The likelihood that any of the recent Alberta cases were due to an "ecstasy overdose" is very low. More likely, it's impurities in the tablets that are causing these deaths. And, as you've pointed out, that should be a major cause for concern. It's too bad the media--apart from the National Post--are fumbling the ball on this story. But then, when it comes to narcotics, a lot of MSM outlets go for sensationalism over responsible reporting.


"You are becoming less and less likely to get what you think you're getting," said Mariellen Burns, a Boston Police Department spokeswoman. Boston police are combating the popularity of the illegal drug by sending undercover officers into nightclubs to nab dealers. Of particular concern, authorities said, is the use of PMA, a chemical recently blamed for the death of an 18-year-old woman in Illinois. When ingested, PMA causes sharp increases in body temperature. It also prevents blood from clotting and causes internal bleeding. "You essentially bleed to death from the inside," said Emily Romano of the New England chapter of DanceSafe, a national group that promotes health and safety in nightclubs.

Thankfully, PMA isn't a terribly common additive to ecstasy tablets, but there are dealers who add it. Other common additives can be found here:


Why Edmonton Journal staff reporters are seemingly incapable of using Google is beyond me.


Sorry for posting three consecutive times, but here is the link to the above Boston news story about e:


It's actually a pretty old story, but the PMA angle I think is worth paying attention to.

John Mansfield:

Mr. Cosh, that report said that the medical examiner's pathological report will take three months or longer. Do you know anything about the pathology of these pathological pathology reports that they so long to produce?

It's the result of a backlog at the lab that does their toxicology. The CME investigator gave me the impression that it's one lab and that they handle everything for northern Alberta—not just work for the medical examiner but in vivo results for the police as well.


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