A 20-year-old male had been found unconscious by friends. When police arrived, Whistler Fire Rescue Service and Emergency Health Services personnel were performing CPR, but failed to revive the victim, who was pronounced dead a short time later at the Whistler Health Care Centre, Wright said.
A second male who was at the same home was hospitalized after he, too, suffered an apparent overdose of MDMA (methylenedioxymethamphetamine). He is expected to make a full recovery, Wright said.
Both men had ingested the drug in powdered form.
Earlier last week, a 17-year-old Fernie male who had also ingested MDMA in powered form almost died, Wright said, emphasizing that there was no connection between the two incidents.
Three overdoses requiring medical intervention, one death.
As always, it is very frustrating to see these news reports in advance of the tox screen data. Most usually the news media pick up the overdose / death story and run with it for a couple of days and then mysteriously fail to return to the story and publish the Medical Examiner's report on what drug and drug levels were found in the body. Some of this may have to do with privacy, I don't know although it seems silly that you can have all the situational reporting and yet the tox data are off limits doesn't it? I think this does a very specific disservice to public health. How so?
The problem raises its head in article:
Youth Outreach workers Davin Moore and Tara Souch .. are working with peer educators to get the message out that a tainted drug may be in circulation, as well as the general risk of taking drugs like ecstasy.
So far there has been no request for their services, but Moore and Souch are doing an investigation of their own.
"We actually had someone in our peer educator group that was close to the situation and they've been sharing information with us," said Moore. "It's good to get the information out to young adults that there could be a bad batch out there that is putting people in the hospital.
"From what I understand it wasn't a matter of taking too much, it was a single dose and the nurses believe it was probably a bad batch. It's definitely scary stuff, and the scariest thing is that it's unknown and anything could be in there... there's a stat going around that sometimes ecstasy in this province is half (crystal) meth."
And where is that stat coming from? Because most of the time this is just made up BS and has nothing to do with any specific, local and time-related information on drug content. Whatsoever. What is more likely is the general knowledge based on ecstasydata.org and the published literature on seized (and other) samples is being passed around.
"Could be a bad batch". Sure. It could be some non-MDMA drug which is leading to fatality. Or it might not. MDMA in and of itself is capable of causing these situations of medical emergency and death. It happens in animal models in which the drug and dose is known absolutely and environmental and situational conditions are held constant. The trouble, of course, is that in the human use condition these situational variables are not even remotely held constant. It should be obvious from the rather low rate of MDMA-related complications and deaths against the user base each and every weekend around the world that simple conclusions about the rave environment, dancing, non-MDMA pill content and even whopping dose levels are not the answer.
Nevertheless if we gate on the deaths and medical emergencies some consistencies do emerge. The clinical picture. A picture that begins with "found collapsed / unresponsive". Occasionally "abnormal movements / seizure". That continues, once medical services are involved, with a consistent picture of elevated body temperature, heart rate, blood pressure and sometimes continued seizure activity. Cardiac arrest. Hyponatremia (overly dilute blood) and kidney failure. Postmortem evaluation confirming a couple of additional features including intravascular coagulation and rhabdomyolysis.
My continued position is that if you consider the host of alleged non-MDMA reasons for these people to have gotten into trouble, not all of them would be predicted to lead to the same resulting clinical picture. Some of them, sure. But not all. To my read, which I will admit is very far from a casual one, there are some remarkable consistencies in the clinical picture including the verified presence of 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine in the body.
Where is this nurse belief in the "bad batch" coming from? I doubt very much that anyone has analyzed the content of drug that has been passing around Whistler lately. If they had specific knowledge about content, they would say so. What they mean, of course, is that people have been showing up with medical emergencies. And since they believe this to be unusual for genuine MDMA, they conclude something other than MDMA is the cause here.
They. Do. Not. Know. This.
And here is where the whole harm reduction and peer-counselor thing earns a big ol' FAIL. These people quoted seem to be out trying to reinforce the existing user beliefs that there cannot possibly be anything unsafe about MDMA, particularly taken in what are understood to be usual doses. Just read the comments, if permitted, for any news article on Ecstasy overdose and you will see what I mean. The attitude pops up on comments to my observations as well. This works against harm reduction.
The point being that IF (and I can always be wrong in my analysis, you know) MDMA is the problem, telling people that it is only the presence of, e.g., methamphetamine or PMA, or the "dehydration" (which is a red herring, btw) or the dancing or whatever points them in the wrong direction. It fails to point to the appropriate mechanism for reducing harm. Furthermore, all the proposed pie in the sky legalize-eet solutions having to do with providing people with known-content and known-dose Ecstasy won't do a damn thing* to reduce harm either.
*ok, ok, having known dose might help slightly. But only slightly. So long as people think there is a huge safety window for heroic doses (because, you know, it isn't the MDMA at fault) they are going to push it..