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Killer amphetamines surface in Switzerland

Malcolm Curtis · 8 Jun 2012, 11:40

Published: 08 Jun 2012 11:37 GMT+02:00
Updated: 08 Jun 2012 11:40 GMT+02:00

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A lethal new form of the drug ecstasy has surfaced in Switzerland, raising concerns about the risks it poses for young people.

The drug contains an ingredient with a long scientific name — para-Methoxymethamphetamine, or PMMA for short.

The amphetamine pill, known as a stimulant and psychedelic drug, is already responsible for more than two dozen deaths in Scandinavia, other parts of northern Europe and in Canada.

Medical authorities have warned that PMMA can cause an increase in blood pressure and in heart rate.

The pill was uncovered for the first time in Switzerland last week during a mobile drug check analysis in Bern.

Drug prevention groups issued warnings after the June 1st discovery to strongly advise young people against using it.

“It’s the first time that we have issued such a warning in the media,” said Amira Belkaid, coordinator of the Geneva-based group Nuit Blanche.

PMMA, which itself is not illegal, is combined with other substances.

This is what can cause a fatal reaction to users, according to drug experts.

The drug has been used by clubbers elsewhere in Europe for a couple of years.

In January 2011, the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation reported that 12 deaths were related to PMMA use over a period of six months.

Other similar deaths have been linked to the drug’s use in the Netherlands, Iceland, Scotland and Canada.

Malcolm Curtis (news@thelocal.ch)

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