With 2015 having barely begun, we’re already hearing some unfortunate news again regarding bad drugs. According to the Guardian, two people have died in the UK with a third person hospitalized after taking the notorious Superman pill, which has resurfaced again after causing numerous deaths last year.
Last year we, and many other dance music outlets reported drug deaths due to a PMA pill being sold as MDMA. The dose is ten times stronger than MDMA, and with effects that kick in far later than that of MDMA, the PMA pills are very easy to o.d. on – especially if the user is expecting to have bought MDMA. Dubbed as the Superman pill due to the markings on the tablets, this dangerous alternative of MDMA has once again caused deaths in the UK.
But why does such a pill even exist and why does it keep appearing? According to the Guardian, the reasons are many but an important factor in all of this is the way we as an international community see and regulate drugs. Following the international ban on synthetic drugs by the UN, also many of the ‘ingredients’ used to make them have been made illegal. In 2010, a 50 tonne batch of safrole was confiscated and destroyed in Thailand. As safrole is an important part of making MDMA, this created a need to search for other ways for making the drug. And another way was indeed found, unfortunately the end product created by alternative means is not MDMA, it’s PMA. So the market becomes infested with pills that are sold as something they are not.
So what to make of all this? In a sense, it seems like the bad drugs are not the aim of the producers, nor are they sought after by the users obviously. No, the bad drugs are a side-effect of the drug policies in force. To battle this side effect, there are numerous of initiatives that go the extra length to warn people against bad drugs. They can be found in Berlin, the US and also here in the Netherlands. Another development is that there is a generation coming along that is more open about discussing drug use. One that instead of just stigmatizing drugs and criminalizing everything involved with them can openly discuss them and share information about them.
However, the main key to solving this issue is far up, within the power structures of our societies. As long as we have strict drug laws and serious legal consequences from anything drug related, building a safe environment for drug users and for us all will be close to an impossibility. Luckily, this is a subject that is being discussed in the media and in high profile conferences such as in TED .
Maybe in the future, thanks to more novel approaches to drugs, we won’t have to deal with people overdosing because of bad drugs. As long as this vision stays in our hopes, remember to stay safe, test your drugs if you want to take them, and use them wisely. Keep your friends informed about the state you’re in if you take drugs, and if you have the possibility, then test them before consuming. And most importantly: don’t get fooled into thinking that taking drugs is the only way to party.
To get a better idea of the size of the problem of bad drugs, the What’s In My Baggie? -documentary is a must-watch.