Saskatchewan

Tainted ecstasy linked to Moose Jaw death

Tainted ecstasy has been linked to the death of a Moose Jaw man, according to a report from Saskatchewan's chief coroner.

Tainted ecstasy has been linked to the death of a Moose Jaw man, according to a report from Saskatchewan's chief coroner.

The coroner's office said Wednesday that results of toxicology tests "confirmed the presence of MDMA (methylenedioxymethamphetamine, commonly referred to as ecstasy) and PMMA (para-methoxymethamphetamine) in the bloodstream of a 46-year-old man who died in Moose Jaw in early February."

The coroner noted that ecstasy tainted with PMMA was recently linked to deaths in British Columbia and Alberta.

In the last six months, police in Calgary, Red Deer and other communities in southern Alberta have reported eight deaths linked to tainted ecstasy.

According to officials in Alberta, since April 2011 there have been more than 450 ecstasy-related emergency room admissions in that province.

The Moose Jaw man's death, which police said happened Feb. 4, is the first confirmed case in Saskatchewan linked to PMMA.

"It's important for the community to understand that this substance has made it to our province," Kent Stewart, the chief coroner, said. "There is no safe dosage of ecstasy even when it isn't tainted with other substances, so this just highlights the major risks that are always involved when someone takes ecstasy."

According to the coroner, MDMA and PMMA are stimulants that cause an increase in heart rate. That can result in heart attacks, strokes and other complications.

There is no way to tell if pills thought to contain MDMA are in fact MDMA or if they contain MDMA combined with PMMA or other substances.

Another danger, is that PMMA takes longer to have an effect on the user.

This can result in users believing they have gotten a weak product and taking more to achieve the desired results.

"The presence of ecstasy is always a concern and this finding highlights the need for our youth and members of our community to understand the dangers associated with drug abuse," Sgt. Randy Jesse, from the Moose Jaw police department, added.

The coroner's office and the police are investigating the death.