'One dose can be fatal': Cops probe another suspected tainted ecstasy death


Two Edmonton women ended up in a Calgary hospital Saturday after taking ecstasy.

Two Edmonton women ended up in a Calgary hospital Saturday after taking ecstasy.

Photograph by: U.S. Customs, Getty Images

CALGARY — Officials are calling the risk associated with a tainted supply of the street drug ecstasy “outrageous,” after a weekend in which Calgary paramedics and police were called to at least three suspected overdoses, including the death of a man Sunday.

Around 7 a.m., authorities were called to a northeast Calgary home for reports of a man in cardiac arrest. The 37-year-old man was dead when paramedics arrived, said EMS spokesman Stuart Brideaux.

Bystanders told paramedics at the scene that the man had ingested ecstasy and possibly other drugs as well.

Two others — a man in his mid-30s and a woman in her early 50s — were transported to Rockyview Hospital for treatment due to concerns they may have taken the same drugs.

“The risk is outrageous— it’s so high for death and injury,” Brideaux said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a regular user of recreational drugs or a first-time user, what has been occurring is that one dose can be fatal. It’s a total roll of the dice.”

Police said they’re investigating the death.

“We believe there was some drug usage, but we cannot confirm what drug,” said Calgary police Duty Insp. Darren Cave.

Neighbours and friends of the 50-year-old woman in whose home the man died said Sunday she is also in grave condition at hospital.

Sheri Bailey said she has known her neighbour for almost a decade and was shocked to see police combing the property Sunday.

“Usually it’s the young ones who just aren’t getting (the message) — not people my age,” Bailey said. “But they were adults and they knew what they were getting into.”

Half a dozen people in Calgary and at least five others in B.C. have died with a toxic chemical in their system. Officials believe ecstasy pills are being laced with paramethoxymethamepetamine (PMMA), a substance five times more toxic than ordinary ecstasy, or MDMA.

Many of the users are believed to have taken the drug not knowing that it was laced with a potentially lethal chemical.

The death in Calgary came the same day police warned the public that two Edmonton women ended up in a Calgary hospital after taking ecstasy.

The women, both in their early 20s, were found by police in a downtown Calgary hotel room at about 6:35 a.m. Saturday.

One woman was unconscious and taken to Calgary’s Foothills Hospital, where she was listed as critical and placed in the intensive-care unit. Late Saturday night, her condition improved and she’s now listed as serious, but stable.

“We expect her to make a full recovery,” Cave said early Sunday afternoon.

The second woman, who also showed signs of drug use, was admitted and later released.

Both patients are from the Edmonton area and had been visiting Calgary for the weekend.

Police have determined that both women had voluntarily consumed ecstasy they purchased in Calgary.

Brideaux said Sunday that EMS crews are keenly aware of the threat posed by the drug and are quick to involve police in any suspected overdose cases.

He added that while the two women who ingested the drug Saturday are expected to recover, it’s possible the drug could have lasting effects.

“These people don’t necessarily walk out the healthy people they were before they took the drug,” Brideaux. “(Sometimes) there’s organ damage, liver and kidney damage. After one use, they may have lifelong effects.”

Calgary Herald

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Two Edmonton women ended up in a Calgary hospital Saturday after taking ecstasy.

Two Edmonton women ended up in a Calgary hospital Saturday after taking ecstasy.

Photograph by: U.S. Customs, Getty Images


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