According to this year’s Global Drugs Survey, there has been a rise in British females experiencing problems with MDMA with women up to three times more likely to seek emergency treatment than males.
There is an estimated 20,000 Britons who take the illegal drug every weekend, with the majority aged 18-24-years-old.
Talking to The Guardian, Dr Adam Winstock, the founder of the Global Drugs Survey, said that the effects of MDMA are less predictable than other illegal drugs and that even a small dose could kill a user.
The warning comes after the deaths of 10 young women from ecstasy this year alone. Just last week, an 18-year-old women was reported dead after taking the pill at a party in Newcastle.
The reason as to why the drug affects women differently to that of men is linked to the amount of water MDMA causes women to retain. Women’s bodies naturally retain more water after consumption of the drug and when this is paired with the fact that oestrogen hampers cells from releasing water, it increases the risk of the brain swelling. This is called hyponatremia and is the most common cause of death among ecstasy takers.
Dr Winstock advises “What I would say to female ecstasy users is that you need to more careful than men. Women appear to be more at risk of harm. Everyone has to be careful, but I think women need to pay extra attention to things like how much they are using, how they are mixing, where they are and who they’re with,”
While MDMA is thought to be incredibly dangerous when taken recreationally with its unpredictable effects of the body, there has been some research to find that in medical settings, the drug could help soldiers overcome Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
However, The Global Drug Survey warns that it’s “worst time to be using MDMA in a generation”.
Manchester’s Warehouse Project, the biggest club in the UK, is the only club in the country that runs on-site drug testing in order to prevent future deaths. But Dr Winstock reports that “While drug checking has a role to play, just knowing what’s in your pill or powder does not make it safe. What moderates the risk of harm more than anything else is the way it used.”
He goes on to say that a dose of about 80mg of MDMA is sufficent for your body to feel the pleasurable effects, but the current average dose taken in many countries is 200mg.
While the drug is extremely dangerous by itself, mixing with alcohol and/or other drugs makes the effects of MDMA much worse. 90% of all those who seek emergency medical treatment have mixed.
If you do choose to take MDMA, make sure you are well aware of the effects and risks. Ecstasy is a class A drug, thus one of the deadliest in the world.
What happens to your body when you take MDMA?
- High amounts of serotonin are released
That’s the happy feeling you get
- Cortisol levels go up
This is a common stress hormone. With more in your body, it explains why you often can’t sleep after
- Sweating and dehydration
Make sure you drink enough water
- The come-down
After the increased levels in serotonin, your body destroys more of the neurotransmitter than normal thus leaving you with less than normal. This makes you feel depressed, irritable and tired.