CLUBBERS in Wigan have been warned about ‘super-strength’ ecstasy pills which are flooding onto the streets and putting lives at risk.
Vast numbers of tablets seized this year have contained MDMA, the stronger chemical first used to make the drug in the late 1980s.
Almost all of the pills sold by dealers as ecstasy in recent years have mainly contained amphetamines, caffeine and other stimulants.
There are now growing concerns that ecstasy users in Wigan are unaware of the increased dangers of the drug, after police confiscated more than 2,000 pills in the borough in the last three years.
Council chiefs today urged party-goers in Wigan to avoid illicit substances, and admitted the contents of illegal drugs are often never fully known.
Wigan Council’s head of Safer, Cleaner, Greener Neighbourhoods, Sally Wolstencroft said: “We would always be concerned about people using ecstasy in clubs and equally concerned about the possibility of stronger chemicals in them because this increases the risk.
“As with all illicit drugs, you can never be completely sure of exactly what is in them, so we advise against using any illegal substance.
“In line with national practises we would raise awareness of such issues through national and local publications, and through direct contact with those who may be at risk in our town centre.”
Officers confiscated 1,950 ecstasy tablets in Wigan between April and December last year. Only two tablets were seized in 2009/10, compared with 117 tablets in 2008/09.
Drug charities say the main danger for ecstasy users is ending up in A&E with heatstroke, with this risk increasing with the amount of MDMA contained in the drug. Ecstasy users who drink too much water on a night out are also vulnerable to a condition called hyponatremia, or water intoxication.
As a result, the level of salt in the body is diluted to a dangerous level which has proven fatal in rare cases.
Forensic drug experts say it’s difficult to pin down why the make-up of ecstasy tablets has changed recently.
Some think it reflects an increase in the availability of the base chemicals used to make the drug.
Others think the growth of new compounds like mephedrone has forced dealers to offer a stronger alternative.
Anyone with concerns about drug use should contact the 24-hour helpline 0800 389 4464 or go online at www.talktofrank.com.