Jul 27 2011 by Johnathon Menzies, Stirling Observer Wednesday
REVELLERS in the Stirling area have been warned not to take a potentially-fatal drug known to be circulating across Scotland.
Experts in illicit substances recently described PMMA, otherwise known as ParaMethoxyMethylAmphetamine, as a highly-toxic stimulant that has been found by forensic scientists in tablets that look like ecstasy and some so-called ‘legal highs’.
The Class A drug has been linked to a number of deaths in mainland Europe since last summer and, following a number of police raids on establishments referred to as ‘head shops’, it has been reported that sales of the same drug are on the increase on home soil.
PMMA has been identified in pink tablets with a Rolex Crown logo, and white tablets featuring a four-leaf clover.
It has also been recovered in powder form and it may be present in other illicit products and tablets emblazoned with other symbols, according the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (ACPOS).
It’s unclear whether or not there is a significant PMMA presence in Stirling itself. Central Scotland Police’s communications team posted links to drug information websites on the force’s dedicated Facebook page yesterday (Tuesday) in a bid to raise awareness.
Detective Inspector Tommy Crombie is a national drugs co-ordinator with the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency.
Speaking on behalf of ACPOS, he explained: “PMMA is a stimulant drug similar to ecstasy, but it is not as potent.
“Users may believe they have taken a ‘weak’ ecstasy tablet, when they have actually taken a tablet containing this highly-toxic substance.
“They may then be tempted to take more tablets to achieve the desired effect, increasing the risk of an overdose.
“Drug dealers are only interested in making money, health and safety is not on their agenda – so users can never be really sure what they are taking when they are supplied by illegal sources.
“All drug-taking involves an element of risk. Users need to be aware that PMMA is out there and understand the potentially devastating impact it can have on their health.
“I would strongly advise drug users to avoid such products and follow harm reduction advice where necessary.”
This stark warning comes at a time when MDMA, the active ingredient in ecstasy tablets, is making a comeback to the country’s drug scene.
An ACPOS representative described it as being “practically absent” for approximately the last five years.
Further information on the risks associated with drug misuse can be found at www.knowthescore.info