Police warn party-goers of potentially deadly synthetic MDMA

UNLESS you're testing your drugs - you really have no idea whether you're taking MDMA or its potentially deadly spin-off, N-Ethylpentylone.

Those who make the 32 cent drug that consumers will pay $30 a cap for have absolutely no concerns about the toxic concoction of ingredients they are using to make the yellow-brownish party drugs.

They just want your money, they don't care about your welfare.

It's the message Detective Inspector for the Capricornia District Darrin Shadlow wants Gladstone partygoers to heed as drugs like MDMA become increasingly common and popular among teens and young adults.

Detective Insp Shadlow said people taking MDMA or any party drugs trusted that's what they were consuming. Detective Shadlow said that trust was severely misplaced.

Detective Inspector Darrin Shadlow.
Detective Inspector Darrin Shadlow.


Gladstone region MDMA consumers could actually be taking the increasingly common and potentially deadly N-Ethylpentylone and a mix of random ingredients including opium, caffeine, cutting agents or even toothpaste.

It's reported to look and taste the same as MDMA however N-Ethylpentylone is a form of cathinone - known as "bath salts".

The stimulant can cause muscle spasms, extreme paranoia and can keep a person awake for more than 36 hours.

While N-Ethylpentylone is a psychoactive drug, it has a much milder eutrophic effect or high when compared to MDMA.

The most common way people have died from the drug is accidental overdose.

According to the World Health Organisation N-Ethylpentylone is a synthetic drug available in powder, crystal or rock form and is "surreptitiously" sold as MDMA worldwide.

In a report produced by the WHO in 2018, between 2016 and 2018 the drug was linked to 125 deaths worldwide.

Detective Shadlow said the mindset of "it won't happen to me" was a common misconception people had when it came to deadly batches of party drugs.

In 2018 media reports indicated during pill-testing at Canberra's Groovin' The Moo festival more than 80 per cent of festival-goers believed they were taking MDMA.

But it was reported less than 50 per cent of the samples showed a "reasonably high purity" of the drug.

The testing revealed for MDMA consumers it was a fifty-fifty coin toss whether they were consuming 'pure' MDMA or 'other'.

Although he hasn't seen the MDMA spin-off hit Gladstone streets yet, Inspector Shadlow said it was "well and truly" a possibility MDMA consumers in the Capricornia region had been exposed to it.

"We do hear of these cases," he said.

"Drug suppliers don't care about the health of consumers, they are just out to make money.

"These people aren't scientists in laboratory conditions … they use any and all chemicals they have on hand.

"It is crazy and scary at the same time that people will risk this to take these drugs.

"People have no idea where the drug has come from and what its compound is.

"You will have healthy, functioning people taking them every weekend."

Inspector Shadlow said in the event a police team come across a suspected drug in the region lab officers will "back out straight away".

"We will guard the place, but no one goes inside," he said.

"We have teams come up from Brisbane, including scientists, and they will go in wearing full breathing apparatus and suited up because that is how fatal these chemicals and mixes can be.

" … And people are taking these drugs every weekend."

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