February 22, 2023

Emergency Presentations at Recent Sydney Festival

On Saturday February 11th several patrons attending Transmission; a music festival in Sydney, presented at local emergency departments with symptoms of overdose. This story was covered in several news outlets.

Last week NSW Health released a statement confirming that presentations to emergency were related to MDMA. Tests conducted among those presenting at emergency found no evidence of contaminants, meaning that MDMA related presentations were not due to contaminated or miss-sold MDMA.

Medical Director of the NSW Poisons Information Centre, Dr Darren Roberts, said consumption of MDMA can cause serious illness, which may include severe agitation, raised body temperature, seizures or fits, heart rhythm problems and death.

“Consumption of MDMA has been linked with cases of serious illness and death, particularly when multiple doses are consumed. The amount of MDMA in a tablet or capsule can vary substantially, even within the same batch,” Dr Roberts said.

As we head into two busy weekends of parties for WorldPride, it is especially important to be careful with regards to alcohol and other drugs. If you are planning to use MDMA and it has been a little while since you last used MDMA remember that your tolerance may be reduced.

Overheating and dehydration may also increase risks associated with MDMA. Over the next two WorldPride weekends temperatures in Sydney are forecast to reach 30 degrees Celsius.

If you are partying remember that taking breaks from dancing, seeking shade if it’s sunny and drinking water are important measures to reduce the risk of overheating.

If you’ve taken MDMA sip two cups of water per hour if you are dancing and sip just one cup of water per hour while you are resting.

Knowing the signs and symptoms of MDMA overdose is very important. Signs of an overdose include a racing heartbeat,  high blood pressure, high body temperature, confusion, agitation, paranoia, convulsions, heightened blood pressure and difficulty breathing, symptoms of a heart attack and stroke, and unconsciousness. MDAM can also cause something called Serotonin Syndrome;  DanceWize NSW have published detailed information about MDMA serotonin syndrome here.

If you are planning to use MDMA throughout Sydney WorldPride it is vitally important to start low and go slow.

If you or anyone you are with experience MDMA overdose symptoms over WorldPride, don’t hesitate, get help immediately!

Peer volunteers from programs such as DanceWize NSW and the ACON Rovers will be onsite at major WorldPride events. Other event staff are also trained to help patrons who may experience distress. At locations other than festivals, if you notice signs of MDMA overdose phone emergency services on Triple Zero (000) and ask for an ambulance.

Pivot Point, the ACON Rovers, and the team at DanceWize NSW wishes everyone a happy, fun, and exciting WorldPride! We’ve collated several pages about drug and alcohol safety throughout WorldPride and these can be read here.