Investigation under way to see if drug is linked to three deaths
A WARNING has been issued to Derbyshire drug users after a dangerous recreational substance is feared to be linked to three deaths in the north of the county.
PMA, or para-methoxymethyamphetamine, is often being sold as ecstasy but it is much stronger and far more toxic.
It has also been sold as amphetamine powder and had been referred to as pink ecstasy, Dr Death or Pink McDonalds.
Seizures of drugs throughout Derbyshire have shown that what a person thinks they have bought is often not the drug that has been sold to them.
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Investigations are under way into whether the drug is linked to three deaths in the Glossop area and other deaths in the north of England.
PMA has also been linked to deaths throughout Europe.
Richard Martin, assistant director and head of substance misuse at Derby City Council, said the danger lies in PMA being marketed as another drug such as ecstasy, and people taking it as ecstasy, without realising it can take up to 90 minutes to have an effect – by which time the dosage could be fatal.
He said: "The message is be very careful in taking what you think you're taking."
He said the margin between taking a recreational amount of the drug and a potentially fatal one was "very narrow".
"If users wish to take such drugs they should not mix them with any other substance especially alcohol," he said.
"Take a small amount and wait for at least an hour-and-a-half to assess the effect before taking more."