Dr. Adam Winstock on the drugs tragedy in Cork

A variant of 2C-P caused the death last week of 18-year-old Alex Reid. The Global Drug Survey coordinator talks to Olaf Tyaransen about the dangers of new 'designer' drugs

Following the tragic death of 18-year-old Alex Reid and the hospitalisation of five other teenagers in Cork last weekend, Dr Adam Winstock, founder of the Global Drug Survey, has been speaking to Hot Press about the dangers of taking synthetic ‘designer drugs’.

“It’s difficult to properly comment without seeing the toxicology report,” he says, “because so many times, when there’s suspicion that there’s particular drugs involved, when toxicology is done either the levels found is traces or there’s a huge dose of something else. So laying the blame flatly at a single drug is difficult.

“However, if it was 2C-P, it’s highly potent,” he continues. “It’s got that fairly unique combination between a hallucinogenic drug and a stimulant. You know, hence its attraction. The reason it could be such a dodgy drug is that it’s really potent and 5 or 10 milligrams is the difference between the dose that makes you happy, floaty and happily tripping, and a dose that’s too much. So it’s a narrow margin between the dose you want and the dose that’s too much. It’s got a really slow onset to action - three, four or five hours and it lasts a long time. So it’s really difficult to gauge.

“2C-P has got all the hallmarks that make a drug dangerous. This has got it all; it’s got the slow onset of action, it’s really potent, the difference between the dose you want and the dose you don’t want is tiny, and it lasts for a very long time.”

According to Dr Winstock, it’s because of this extremely slow onset that many users accidentally overdose.

“The problem is that with a pill you expect to come up after 45minutes, but you don’t and other people don’t, so you say, ‘Sod it! It’s a duff pill and I’ll take more’. And that’s what we saw with PMMA.”

According to the last Global Drug Survey, 2C-P wasn’t a commonly used drug in Ireland. “I can’t remember off the top of my head, but I look at the top 40 drugs all the time, and 2C-P would not be a common drug that people would go out to use. It has been made and someone is trying to make money off it. How it found its way into an MDMA tablet, I think that’s an interesting question.

“And the important thing is that whoever is flogging them, the nicest interpretation is that it’s somebody that’s unknowingly sold a batch of pills or something really dangerous, what you would hope is that on the back of this tragedy in Cork, that person would go, ‘Oh my Lord, I’m destroying them all…I just didn’t know’. And that’s what you hope would happen.

“But what’s happened in the past is there are lots of people that obviously aren’t terribly nice and who just want to make money. And you can re-press a batch of powders or a batch of pills easily enough. So the fear is that you’ve got someone that’s going, Oh no, these pills have got some really bad press... I’d better change them’. And so they crush and rebrand them. That can happen as well.”

How widely available are 2C-P and its variants in Ireland? How much does it cost and how are people obtaining it? Help us find out by completing this year's Global Drug Survey at www.globaldrugsurvey.com

 

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