NSW Health released an alert regarding high dose MDMA (ecstasy) tablets that are pink, irregular shaped with an Audi logo have been found in NSW with an average dose of 196mg.
MDMA is the drug originally called ecstasy and is an amphetamine-type stimulant.
Standard dose = 75 – 125mg
Strong dose = 125-175mg
High dose = 175-200+mg
A high dose = HIGH RISK OF HARM
Doses 175mg+ are less likely to give the effects like euphoria but more likely to increase effects like muscle tension, neurotoxicity, comedowns, strain on the heart, overheating and increased blood pressure.
MDMA can take 40 mins to 2 hours to kick into the system so be patient before re-dosing especially if you don’t know the strength of the dose.
More MDMA is not more fun. Less is more #startwithhalf
How can I avoid MDMA related harms?
If you plan on using MDMA we have a few tips to avoid the risk of related harms:
- Start with small doses, its recommended to half or even quarter the first pill dose and be on the lookout for adverse, unwanted, or unusual effects. Don’t re-dose until you’re sure you’re not experiencing negative effects. Continue to use in small doses to minimise the risk of harm. There is an increased risk of harm as the dose increases.
- A dose usually lasts 4-6 hours so you’re best not taking another dose while you’re peaking to avoid peak dose related harms.
- Never dose alone. Always use with friends so you can look out for each other.
- Look out for your friends: it’s hard to notice your own symptoms.
- Minimise polydrug use by avoiding other hallucinogenic drugs, like mushrooms or LSD, and other stimulants like speed and meth/crystal as mixing drugs puts extra strain on the heart, blood vessels and raises your body temperature.
- Hot and humid weather or even heated rooms that don’t have any windows open during winter will also increase the risk of harm. MDMA causes the body to overheat and left unchecked can be dangerous.
- Take lots of rest breaks, stay cool, drink water (250-500 ml per hour) when active and electrolytes or eat salty foods.
- There is greater risk of overdosing when mixed with anti-depressant medications like Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI’s), codeine and other opioids and excessive alcohol consumption (more than couple of drinks per hour).
- MDMA is contraindicated (strongly not recommended due to risk of harm) for people who are on serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) for depression and/or anxiety, such as Pristiq and Effexor.
- Sleeping and eating well before and after taking MDMA will support your overall health.
‘Pill Testing’/Drug Checking: Lab-quality testing has been trialled in Australia and is not available as a health service yet, but DIY reagent testing is an option. Mandolin, Marquis, Mecke and other reagents produce reactions with MDMA.
Effects to look out for
Feeling really hot, light headedness, rigid muscles, confusion or agitation, racing pulse/heart, feeling aggressive, uncontrolled repetitive movements, vomiting, seizures, difficult to rouse / unconscious.
What to do in case of unexpected side effects
- Get (medical) help immediately if you or someone else experience any unexpected effects or displays symptoms listed above. If you are at a venue, attract the attention of medical or security staff. If in a private setting, call 000.
- Ask for an ambulance and you will be connected to a control centre for Ambulance NSW. A control centre assistant will ask you a standard set of questions. Answer their questions in a calm and clear manner. Once you have answered all questions, do not hang up the phone, stay on the line and follow any instructions that they give you.
- Tell the ambulance service what drugs you or the person you are assisting has taken. You will not get in trouble from the police.
- While you wait for help, try to reduce stimulation like music, light, loud noises, give yourself or the person space.
Support and advice
For free and confidential advice:
- Call Alcohol and Drug Information Service (ADIS) on 1800 250 015 at any time 24/7. Start a Web Chat with an ADIS counsellor Mon-Fri, 8.30am-5pm.
- Call the NSW Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26 for information on adverse effects from drugs.
- Visit Your Room for fact sheets and other resources.
- Sesh.ed has a great Insta for peer based resources
- Visit Pivot Point Party and Play Drug Info for further drug information and other resources for LGBTQ community.
- ACON provides confidential FREE short-term counselling (up to 12 sessions) for sexuality and gender diverse people and people with HIV seeking support in relation to their use of alcohol and other drugs. For more info visit #substance support counselling.
For more information related to MDMA research that was referenced in this blog visit: Dosing for pleasure and why less is often more | Global Drug Survey