A new ecstasy-like drug produced in China that has been linked to at least 125 deaths is feared to have spread to Britain, the National Crime Agency has warned in an alert to summer festival-goers.
The United Nations (UN) has ordered a worldwide ban on N-Ethylnorpentylone in an attempt to close down its production in illegal psychoactive drugs “factories” in China which have flooded the market.
The National Crime Agency (NCA) said the drug was often disguised and sold as Ecstasy, which it looks and smells like, but can cause paranoia, anxiety, psychotic episodes and leave users unable to sleep for up to four days
.It has been found in one in 20 samples of Ecstasy, or MDMA, tested by The Loop, a social enterprise set up by professor Fiona Measham, a former Government drugs adviser, which will this summer provide its free drug testing service at around a dozen festivals.Professor Measham, a criminologist at Durham University, said her tests showed that overall one in five illegal drugs in the UK were not what they claimed to be.
This included Boric acid – a drain cleaner – and ground up malaria tablets being sold as cocaine. N-Ethylnorpentylone was, however, the most dangerous and had been the “number one” problem drug at New Zealand’s just-ended summer season of festivals, she said.
“The real problem is that the effects are not that dissimilar at the start to what a user might expect from MDMA but it takes longer. What people might think is that they have a weak sample of MDMA so they take more and inadvertently re-dose or overdose,” she said.“It can keep them awake for two to four days. They become increasingly stressed and anxious. The concern is that young people don’t realise it’s the drugs and think it could be them or think they are losing a grip of their faculties.
We have seen people who have full blown psychotic episodes.”A World Health Organisation (WHO) investigation report, seen by The Telegraph, said the drug had been identified in 25 US deaths and “approximately 125 toxicology reports confirmed the detection (urine and blood) of N-ethylnorpentylone in fatal cases observed between 2016 and 2018.”
Reported by The Telegraph