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Risk Assessment | Women and Drugs


PMA Warning

Introduction

What exactly is PMA?

Why are people consuming PMA if it is so dangerous?

Why are some people selling PMA as ecstasy instead of just making real ecstasy?

What are the effects of PMA?

What do the PMA tablets look like?

Are there other PMA tablets going around?

But I heard that the deadly pills in Florida contained both PMA and MDMA together?

My local newspaper said that no test exists that can detect PMA? Is this true?

Will the Marquis testing kit screen against PMA tablets?

What do I do if I think someone has overdosed on PMA?

Where can I find out more information about PMA?

Introduction

In September 2000 six young people died in Central Florida after consuming fake “ecstasy” tablets that contained paramethoxyamphetamine, or PMA, instead of real ecstasy (MDMA). Added to three earlier PMA deaths last Spring in the Chicago area, there have been at least nine confirmed PMA deaths in the United States.

The PMA tablets that have been responsible for these deaths are the above-pictured; "double-stacked Mitsubishi" tablets. They show no color change using the Marquis testing kit. These tablets have also recently been reported in Toronto, Canada.

The mainstream media has misrepresented the context in which PMA is being sold and (accidentally) consumed. They have referred to PMA as “a new version of ecstasy,” and “the latest in deadly designer drugs like ecstasy.” This is not true. PMA is a not a recreational drug. There is no demand for it like there is for ecstasy. It is not being manufactured because people like it. It is being manufactured and sold as “ecstasy” because the chemicals to make it are easier to obtain than the chemicals to make real ecstasy.

The DanceSafe PMA FAQ

What exactly is PMA?

PMA is paramethoxyamphetamine. It is a hallucinogenic stimulant that some people experimented with in the 1970s, but which never became a popular recreational drug due to its high toxicity. It is one of the most dangerous and toxic hallucinogens known.

Why are people consuming PMA if it is so dangerous?

They are not taking it on purpose. They think they are taking ecstasy (MDMA).

Why are some people selling PMA as ecstasy instead of just making real ecstasy?

Because it is cheaper and less risky to make than real ecstasy. PMA precursor chemicals are easier to obtain and are not strictly controlled by the government like those for MDMA. Someone who only cares about making money can produce PMA without having to undertake the expense or risk of producing real ecstasy. Like all fake “ecstasy” tablets, it’s a scam.

What are the effects of PMA?

At lower doses (less that 50mg, depending on body weight) PMA produces an increase in energy, minor visual hallucinations, and a mild euphoric state. At slightly higher doses it (suddenly) increases heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature to dangerously high levels that can lead to convulsions, coma and death. A person who has ingested a high enough dose of PMA has difficulty breathing, develops muscle spasms and nausea, and starts vomiting.

The initial effects of a low dose of PMA might feel a little bit like MDMA, but PMA takes more than half an hour longer to come on. This may cause some people to take another pill thinking that they got "weak Ecstasy." By this time the person may have taken a lethal dose.

What do the PMA tablets look like?

So far all of the PMA tablets sold on the ecstasy market around the world have been white or tan “Mitsubishi” tablets. They have a diameter of 7 or 7.5 mm, and are thicker than most pills. Pills tested around the world that match this size and description have always contained PMA, so if you come across an exact match (size, color and logo), it most likely contains PMA, not MDMA.

Are there other PMA tablets going around?

Not that anyone is aware of. All the recent deaths have resulted from white or tan Mitsubishis, probably all from the same initial one or two batches pressed seven or eight years ago. However, it is possible that a new, different batch of PMA tablets will show up sometime that look different.

But I heard that the deadly pills in Florida contained both PMA and MDMA together?

This is not true. Some newspapers in Florida misquoted the Medical Examiner’s office. What the Florida Medical Examiner’s office said was that some of the victims had both PMA and MDMA in their system, not that the pills contained both drugs together. This is significant because it means that the PMA tablets can be screened against using a Marquis testing kit.


My local newspaper said that no test exists that can detect PMA? Is this true?

No. Gas Chromatography (GCMS), a procedure used in laboratories, can positively detect PMA and virtually any other drug that might be present in a tablet. Also, the Marquis Reagent testing kit can reliably screen against any tablet that does not contain real ecstasy, including the PMA tablets. (PMA produces no color change using the kit.) We offer testing kits online.

We also manage a laboratory pill analysis program (in conjunction with MAPS and the Promind Foundation) where anyone can anonymously and legally send in an “ecstasy” tablet to a DEA-licensed laboratory for GCMS analysis. The lab sends us the results, and we post them on our website, usually within two weeks.

Will the Marquis testing kit screen against PMA tablets?

Yes. The Marquis testing kit is effective and reliable for screening against all tablets which do not contain any MDMA, MDA, or MDE.

What do I do if I think someone has overdosed on PMA?

Overdoses of PMA can occur after taking just one tablet. If you are at a rave or nightclub and someone shows the symptoms mentioned above, call an ambulance immediately and follow the same guidelines that are listed on our Heat Stroke page. Make sure and tell the paramedics that the person may have taken PMA by mistake.

Where can I find out more information about PMA?

The best web resource on PMA is: http://ramindy.sghms.ac.uk/~ltg/pma.htm

 


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