A recently released study from the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), examining the patterns surrounding MDMA production and use, has unveiled a few insightful facts about the current culture around illegal MDMA usage and production.
Surprisingly, the study unveils that though ever-liberal Netherlands and Belgium remain at the top (and rising) of MDMA production, Northern Europe is no longer the sole production source. Now, Canada and China have emerged as major production hubs. The former's rise in prominence has caused and supported an upswing in trafficking through North America.
China has particularly become a center for MDMA production due to its proximity to PMK (piperonyl methyl ketone), one of four MDMA precursor substances that is typically produced in China.
Online, MDMA remains one of the most popular drugs purchased through the digital black market and is often purchased for the purpose of resale.
The report continues to share that there has also been a noticeable increase in purity of MDMA since 2010 to 2011, following a disappearance and resoundingly low levels of MDMA (if at all) in circulating pills.
In fact, the survey continues, pressed tablets cannot contain 100 per cent MDMA and usually do not contain over 30 to 40 per cent MDMA. As of late, 4fluoroamphetamine (4FA), sometimes also known as "ecstasy light" has circulated in lieu of MDMA, and reportedly gives users effects that range between MDMA and amphetamine use.
Interestingly enough, the report also sheds light on the aggressive marketing tactics of pills, pointing out that the use of branded, recognized logos as stamps (ex. UPS, Superman and even festival brands like ADE and Tomorrowland) has dramatically increased in popularity. However, the issue with these designed pills is that they are often copied and re-released but actually contain a much lower potency.
While MDMA-related deaths do occur, the study explains that the amount of MDMA-related deaths is low compared to the scale of other drug-related deaths (specifically, opioids).
Valerie Lee is Mixmag's US Digital Editor. Follow her on Twitter here