Thursday, March 31, 2011
Ecstasy research moves into the real world
Studies into the effects of ecstasy tend to be carried out in the laboratory and don't always reflect what goes on in real life. A team of researchers led by Dr Rod Irvine from the University of Adelaide tried to get round this by sending researchers to parties where they thought people might be taking the drug. The researchers managed to persuade 56 people to invite them to house parties where they collected samples of pills and measured the users' levels of MDMA - the active ingredient of ecstasy. The researchers found that only half of the pills consisted entirely of MDMA; some pills contained no MDMA at all while others contained methamphetamine or chemicals related to MDMA such as MDEA or MDA. The pills that did contain MDMA ranged in quantity from 25mg to ten times that amount. Most users took more than one pill while some took as many as five. In 14 people the amount of MDMA in the blood reached levels that had never been studied in humans in the laboratory although noone suffered any immediate health problems.