N-Ethylnorpentylone – is this the new Chinese Ecstasy?

The National Crime Agency is warning British festival-goers about a new drug that has been related to over 100 deaths worldwide. The ecstasy-like substance is being produced in China and authorities fear that it is about to arrive in the UK

A worldwide ban on the drug has been ordered by the United Nations (UN). However Chinese factories making this and other illegal psychoactive drugs seem to have increased supply of the drug.

The drug is often wrongly sold as Ecstasy because it smells and looks like MDMA. However the effects of the Chinese drug are alarming. The National Crime Agency (NCA) warns that it may cause users to have psychotic episodes as well as bouts of anxiety and paranoia. Reports suggest that days without sleep can also occur after taking the drug.

A professor from Durham University, Fiona Measham carried out tests on Ecstasy and found that 1 in 20 tablets contained N-Ethylnorpentylone. She reported that tests proved that generally, one in five illegal drugs in this country were not what they were claimed to be.

The substitutes included boric acid, which is normally a drain cleaner, and powdered malaria tablets which were being offered a cocaine. However,  Professor Measham suggested that the number one problem was N-Ethylnorpentylone, with this dangerous drug being prominent at festivals in New Zealand this summer.

A big worry with this new drug is that, potentially, users may take it and think that it is weak MDMA, so they take more. This then could cause a fatal overdose of the drug.

It is hoped that the UN ban on the drug will curb supplies. However, as has already been seen with Spice, a synthetic cannabinoid, modified strains of the drug are almost certain to appear, in order to circumvent the UN ban.

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