Harm Reduction


Drug potency

This is very hard to estimate with tablets, but here are a few things to consider:

  • What are the markings on tablets that are being offered around? Make sure you can see what you are taking.
  • ‘Ramps’ or marks on tabs are no guarantee of content, but they can help guide you.
  • Colour and size or texture can help to identify a tablet, but producers rely on a type of brand recognition that can work on a number of levels.
  • Just because one type of pill say a ‘white dove’, for example, was good a couple of months ago, doesn’t mean you can rely on it now.
  • Check the websites that offer information. These days, ‘smartphones’ offers an extra level of self-protection that was not available to people at clubs previously. But the same advice applies, perhaps the best way to look at it is - you are looking for reports of bad pills, not necessarily endorsements of good ones.
  • If you can, get your pills tested before taking them. If they include PMA/PMMA do not take the pills.

Tips on staying safe

Remember that if you don’t feel any effect from one pill (at the most) after 45 minutes, it is possible that you have not taken MDMA. Taking more of the same will not help. If it is PMA/PMMA you are taking a significant risk.

The possible interaction with other substances particularly alcohol and alcohol/energy drink mixes; if you are doing pills these should be avoided. 

Setting: This means the environment that you are in. While you are out to have a good time, don’t get too lost in the moment. It is particularly important to be aware that your body will be more likely to overheat if you are dancing in a packed club and you should make sure you top up on liquids, particularly water or an ‘isotonic’ beverage. The recommended guidelines are sipping 500ml/hour (when dancing) or 250ml/hour (when inactive) of water. However, be cautious of consuming over this amount as it can lead to overhydration which can be fatal.

Overheating is a cause for concern as one of the symptoms of PMA/PMMA at dangerous doses is hyperthermia. If you are in a club, do not try to counter-balance this by going out immediately to cool down, a sudden drastic change in environment can be risky. You will want to get somewhere more temperate, but overheating with PMA/PMMA does not only occur in clubs, it is an internal physical reaction. If you are worried and you begin to overheat, call an ambulance.

Stay together with your mates for at least an hour if you do take any pills.

Make sure you know where your trusted friends are if you are at a big rave, and if you get separated, have a meet-up point. If you are in other social settings (i.e. not raves or nightclubs) and you or someone who know shows signs of overheating, it is advisable to be cautious that you have taken PMA/PMMA and you should seek medical help.