Christmas is traditionally a time when people let their hair down and have a good time. There is great pressure on people to celebrate in a major way and sometimes this can result in people taking risks that they wouldn’t consider at other times. Through the year this column has looked at a wide range of drugs and different trends in use but it is at this time in particular that we all need to be as informed as possible about what is around and possible problems that may eventuate.
Most importantly a warning has been issued regarding the strength of some ecstasy pills that are currently available. There have been reports from all over the country of ecstasy users experiencing a range of problems. It would appear that these are MDMA-related. Once again we come down to the simple fact that MDMA is not a drug without risk. Things can go wrong and the unusually high number of people showing up to emergency departments right across the country is testament to this.
Although the red Mitsubishi warning ended up being incorrect, i.e. no PMA (paramethoxyamphetamine) was identified in the pills, police have since seized a quantity of pills in South Australia that did contain the toxic substance. This only emphasises the fact that you simply never know what you are taking and things can go wrong. As I’ve said before, the catchcry of this column has been the bane of my life. Rarely do I go out without someone coming up to me and saying never be blas? I appreciate the humour but it’s an incredibly important point that no-one who uses drugs should ignore. Drugs are unpredictable. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve used a substance, whether it be legal, illegal or pharmaceutical, you can never be quite sure how it will affect you the next time. This applies to ecstasy as much as any other substance.
Many people are aware that the cocaine on the street appears to be of a far higher quality than Sydneysiders are used to. This is reflected in the price that people are willing to pay for it, with some people paying up to $400 per gram, a doubling of the usual price. For some this will mean that it truly will be a white Christmas. A glass of champagne with a line of cocaine is perceived by some as the ultimate party treat, but it is important that users are aware that cocaine is a potentially dangerous drug. Overdose is always a possibility and we have seen deaths in Sydney even in those people who choose to snort the drug. With purity increasing, these risks are greater.
Remember: if you do not want any negative consequences, do not use the drug, and no matter how many times you have used a substance, never be blas?
Have a very happy Christmas and a safe New Year.