Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2440/48321
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Type: Journal article
Title: Amphetamine derivative fatalities in South Australia : is "Ecstasy" the Culprit?
Author: Byard, R.
Gilbert, J.
James, R.
Lokan, R.
Citation: The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology, 1998; 19(3):261-265
Publisher: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
Issue Date: 1998
ISSN: 0195-7910
1533-404X
Statement of
Responsibility: 
R. W. Byard, J. Gilbert, R. James, R. J. Lokan
Abstract: Objective: To analyze features of a series of fatalities caused by amphetamine-derivative designer drugs marketed as "Ecstasy" in South Australia, and to identify reasons for the recent marked increase in number of these deaths. Materials and methods: Following th death of a 26-year-old woman after alleged ingestion of Ecstasy tablets, a retrospective search of files at State Forensic Science, Adelaide and the South Australian State Coroner's Department was undertaken from February 1992 to January 1997 to identify similar cases. Results: Six fatalities were found, all of which have occurred since September 1995 (M:F ratio, 1:1; age range, 22 to 36 years; average age, 27.7 years). All individuals had histories of recent ingestion of illegal drugs thought to be Ecstasy (methylenedioxymethamphetamine, MDMA) at the time of purchase. Delay occurred in seeking medical attention, despite severe symptoms. Causes of death involved documented hyperthermia in 3 cases (temperatures of 415-46.1 degrees C), with features of hyperthermia in one other case, and intracranial hemorrhage in another. Drugs in toxic/lethal amounts identified at postmortem included paramethoxyamphetamine (PMA) in all cases, amphetamine/methamphetamine in 4 cases, and methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA or Ecstasy) in only 2 cases. Interaction with a prescription medication (fluoxetine may have occurred in 1 case. Conclusions: The number of deaths due to amphetamine derivatives apparently due to substitution of PMA for MDMA(Ecstasy) have recently increased markedly in Adelaide. Potential users should be wraned tha tPMA has been associated with a much higher rate of lethal complications than other designer drugs, and that no guarantee can be made that tablets sold as Ecstasy are not PMA.
Keywords: Ecstasy; PMA; MDMA; Drug fatalities
Rights: © 1998 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.
RMID: 0030001431
DOI: 10.1097/00000433-199809000-00013
Appears in Collections:Pathology publications

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