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High-strength ‘Skype’ pills hospitalise islanders

High-strength ‘Skype’ pills hospitalise islanders

Friday 09 August 2019

High-strength ‘Skype’ pills hospitalise islanders

A “very high strength” batch of ecstasy that has “never been seen before in Jersey” and recently left UK festivalgoers fighting for their lives has resulted in islanders being sent to hospital.

Officials said some of the five islanders taken to A&E in recent weeks had taken a form of the drug known as ‘Skype’, as they issued an urgent caution to all potential users.

“…There is no way of telling what is in a tablet or how strong it is – there is no quality control on street drugs,” Simba Kashiri, Acting Team Manager of the Alcohol and Drug Service, warned.

“Ecstasy can affect the body’s temperature control and dancing in a hot atmosphere also increases the risk of overheating, which can be deadly.”

He added that the SKYPE tablets in particular were “reportedly very strong”, adding that it was the “first time” the service had been aware of them circulating in the island.

The news comes around five months after a 19-year-old was arrested and dealt with in the Royal Court for importing such tablets in March 2019.

Health officials described the pills in recent circulation to Express as "layered dark purple and pink and are in the shape of the Skype logo with the word Skype embossed on them", but said they didn't have any information on the exact strength of the tablets.

'Skype' pills have also been a source of extreme concern in the UK.

According to reports, five Parklife festivalgoers were left fighting for their lives in July after taking the pills, which are reported to contain 250 to 300mg of MDMA - triple the amount usually found in such pills.

Drug awareness and testing charity The Loop recently put the drug on a list of the top 10 strongest pills they have come across at festivals this summer.

Jersey’s Alcohol and Drug Service has since issued the following advice to potential users of MDMA (referred to colloquially as ‘ecstasy’):

  • “Take a quarter of a tablet and wait two to three hours to assess the effects prior to any re-dosing. If using MDMA powder, crush into as fine a powder as possible, lick the tip of your index finger and dab it into the powder – this will be approximately 100mg – stir the powder into water and drink (this is safer than snorting and allows you to gauge the strength and effects);
  • Dancing for long periods in a hot atmosphere such as a nightclub, especially coupled with summer heat, increases your chances of overheating and dehydration. Take regular breaks from the dance floor to cool down and watch out for your friends – they might not realise they’re in danger of overheating or getting dehydrated;
  • Drinking too much can be dangerous and drinking too quickly is liable to affect your body’s salt balance, which can be as hazardous as not drinking enough water. Sip no more than a pint of water or a non-alcoholic drink every hour;
  • Avoid using alone and look out for your friends;
  • Avoid mixing ecstasy with other drugs (prescribed or not), including alcohol, which can increase dehydration, and caffeine which increases body temperature and MDMA’s neurotoxic effects;
  • Seek immediate medical advice if you or your friends begin to feel unwell;
  • Anyone who has a heart condition, blood pressure problems, epilepsy or asthma is liable to have a dangerous reaction to ecstasy;
  • If someone is over-heating take them outside/somewhere to cool down, remove extra clothing if necessary. If someone collapses put them in the recovery position and call an ambulance immediately.”

Islanders requiring further confidential information or advice should call the Alcohol and Drug Service on 445000.

Pictured top: Five islanders have been hospitalised in recent weeks due to 'SKYPE' MDMA pills. (The Loop)

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