The Drug Report

Facts about what can go wrong when people use drugs

  • The Best Drug Info Ever?

    A big part of my inspiration for The Drug Report was Beth Pearce's amazing film, VOICE OF THE VICTIMS: TRUE STORIES OF ECSTASY AND KETAMINE. The film simply lets the victims of drug tragedies tell their stories. It's real life, it's undeniable, and it's incredibly powerful. I'm sure Beth has saved many, many lives, and it is my hope that this blog will do so as well. To learn more about her film, go to Voice Of The Victims.


    A friend of mine likes to say, "You're entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts."

    When it comes to drugs, there are lots of opinions out there: Some think drugs are safe and fun, some think they're dangerous and frightening, and many think everything in between.

    But facts are facts, and when someone dies from drugs, or someone is murdered by a person who is on drugs, or is raped by someone who has given them drugs, that's just a fact. Drug users who actively promote drug use rail against these facts, and I expect they'll be commenting regularly on The Drug Report. But they can't change the facts.

Rhabdomyolysis: An Ecstasy Death

Posted by Childress on July 19, 2006

A medical inquest into the death of a South Wales young man who died after taking Ecstasy has revealed that a chemical reaction unrelated to the size of the dose caused his death.

The story reminds me of what happened to Sara and Steven, whose tragic deaths are told on the Voice of the Victims films.  Those deaths involved the ecstasy substitute PMA, but the symptoms were quite similar.

From the Press Association:

A drug expert warned today that ecstasy is a killer which can trigger a fatal blood poisoning in an unknown number of users.Professor Robert Forrest, an expert in forensic chemistry, spoke out to highlight the danger after the death of a south Wales teenager.

Daniel Lee, 19, of Sketty, Swansea, collapsed at home and was rushed to hospital unconscious after taking the drug, an inquest heard today.

He died in April last year, more than a week after collapsing, never having regained consciousness. …

Earlier [Forrest] had heard that the teenager’s organ failure had been so chronic his body had lost almost all ability to remove the drug from his system.

Blood samples taken a week after his collapse indicated the drug was taking five days to be cleansed from his system instead of the normal eight hours. …

The inquest heard that Daniel had died of brain swelling brought on by liver failure as a result of taking ecstasy.

It heard his parents had no suspicion their son was taking drugs but seven ecstasy tablets were found hidden at their home while Daniel was in hospital.

A report to the inquest by Prof Forrest highlighted how ecstasy in some users can trigger a fatal illness.

It said the teenager had developed a condition known as rhabdomyolysis which is linked to blood toxicity.

Its symptoms include prolonged fits and high temperatures and the leaking of a chemical in the muscles into the blood stream.

The molecules in the chemical are so large it cannot pass the kidneys, lodging in the small blood vessels in the kidney and causing liver failure.

Prof Forrest said that he could only give an educated guess as to how many ecstasy tablets Daniel had taken, but he thought it would have been more than two and fewer than 10.

He said it was unknown why some people develop a fatal illness when taking just a “normal” dose of the MDMA drug, ecstasy.

“It is not dose related, the ingestion of only one or two tablets can trigger the syndrome in some individuals,” he warned.

“It is unfortunately the case that a significant number of individuals have died with a mode of death very similar to that documented in Mr Lee’s case.”


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