March 2017 - Detection of highly dosed MDMA tablets, MDA and THJ-2201
The Belgian Early Warning System at the Scientific Institute for Public Health (WIV-ISP) was recently notified about the identification of the following substances and/or samples:
* a new substance, THJ-2201
* several highly dosed MDMA tablets
* a tablet only containing MDA.
These drug samples were collected in the framework of the drug testing project at Modus Vivendi, Brussels.
THJ-2201 is a synthetic cannabinoid, that was first identified in Europe at the end of 2013. It was identified for the first time in Belgium in 2014 (seizure by customs).
The powder sample containing this substance was deposited at Modus Vivendi as being methiopropamine (MPA) and was presumably obtained through on-line purchase.
It is currently unknown to what extent this powder is being used in Belgium, although it seems unlikely this phenomenon will be wide-spread.
A further four tablets were collected and analyzed, and found to contain more than 150mg of MDMA (expressed as MDMA base).
Tablet characteristics including photographs, can be found in the table below.
The majority of ecstasy tablets currently circulating are highly dosed, sometimes containing dosages of up to 300 mg MDMA base.
Symptoms of MDMA overdose are characterized by heavy sweating, tremor, dry mouth, nausea, vomiting, hypertension and tachycardia, paranoia and hyperthermia.
In severe cases a serotonin syndrome can occur, resulting in an often fatal hyperthermia.
One collected tablet did not contain MDMA but rather the close derivative MDA, the demethylated derivative (and metabolite) of MDMA.
The psychoactive effects of MDA are similar to those of MDMA, the main difference being that MDA provokes pronounced hallucinogenic effects.
Preliminary animal data could suggest a higher (neuro)toxicity for MDA compared to MDMA.
Dr. Apr. Peter Blanckaert
Coordinator Belgian Early Warning System on Drugs
DO Public Health&Surveillance, Drugs Program (BMCDDA)
Juliette Wytsmanstraat 14 | 1050 Brussels
T + 32 2 642 54 08 | F + 32 2 642 54 10 | GSM Wacht +32 475 84 68 16
Institut Scientifique de Santé Publique
Wetenschappelijk Instituut Volksgezondheid
Scientific Institute of Public Health
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