E for Ecstasy by Nicholas Saunders
Appendix 1: Reference Section
- 59 MDMA - The Dark Side of Ecstasy, by Gregory Hayner and Howard
McKinney, from Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, Vol. 18/4 1986
- This paper concerns toxic effects of MDMA on illicit users who attended
the Haight Ashbury Free Medical Clinic in 1986.
- The authors note that both the doses taken and user's reactions were
variable. Analysis of samples showed doses ranging from 16 to 165 mg. Acute
reactions were rare and were usually confined to sensitive people taking
high doses, particularly when they repeated the dose within a short period.
Overdoses had unpredictable results: some effects lasted up to 2 weeks.
Psychosis, including paranoia and hallucinations, usually resulted from
very high dosages.
- The paper includes two case reports:
- 1. A heroin addict who was adequately sedated had hallucinations and
paranoia and was violent after a large dose of MDMA.
- 2. A normal 33 year-old woman who worked for a publisher took a large
dose - estimated at 50 to 100mg - with 4 friends. The trip was normal, with
the woman still remembering it as the best time of her life. But one month
later she took a normal dose from the same batch and within 20 minutes experienced
feelings of dread and had visual hallucinations of the sky turning black
and a devastated landscape spiralling in on her "like a ton of bricks".
She lost consciousness and was taken to hospital where she had to be restrained
for several hours. After 3 days she was regarded as normal, but stayed off
work for a month. She was depressed, had bouts of crying and was not her
normal self for 6 months. Laboratory analysis showed the batch of MDMA to
be 95% pure and no other substances showed up in her body fluids.
- The authors conclude that this unexplained case is disturbing, as the
woman nearly died in conditions that are normally regarded as safe.
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