E for Ecstasy by Nicholas Saunders
Appendix 1: Reference Section
- 40 A visit to Lifeline, a non-statutory drug agency in Manchester,
3 August 1992
- Lifeline is 21 years old and has 35 full time employees. All its funding
comes from the government and most of its work consists of counselling opiate
users. But when the rave scene started in about 1990, senior staff became
interested in Ecstasy, and Lifeline now has five staff working on projects
related to the drug.
- Ian Wardle, the agency's acting director, guesses that a million Es
are taken every week. He says the latest fashion is high doses of LSD and
strong grass: until recently an LSD dose was 50-80 ug but the new 'high'
dose is about 150 ug. [The normal dose in the sixties was said to be 250
- Mark Gilman, a Lifeline researcher looking at the way groups of football
supporters in Manchester have converted from alcohol to Ecstasy, tells me
that football supporters used to meet in a pub after the game to place bulk
orders. He says they would have stayed with E but for the quality falling.
The way they bought the tablets, such as meeting the dealer in a motorway
service station, gave them no chance to test the quality.
- Lifeline workers say that the following prices are the norm in Manchester:
LSD #3 each or #1 each by the hundred. Ecstasy #15 each or 10 for #120;
#8 each by the hundred; #3-#5 by the thousand. As with LSD, the price of
Ecstasy has remained the same over the years, defying inflation. Likewise,
Amphetamine Sulphate sells at #10/gm. a price that has remained the same
for years. The bulk price has gone down: it is now #100/oz but the amphetamine
is also more diluted.
- The typical "weekend drug budget" for a working class northerner
is 1 gm amphetamine plus 2 Es. Multiple E use - or "stacking"
- occurs, but few people take more than 3 Es, and the maximum is 6. There
has recently been a switch away from Ecstasy and towards LSD for health
reasons, since E is believed to be toxic. Another reason for choosing acid
is that the dose is so small that it is not possible to adulterate it. Lab
tests to analyse drugs cost about #60 per hour, which is usually long enough
for about 3 tests.
- Gilman says that club owners are becoming more responsible and looking
after clients who get into trouble, such as "spinners" - dancers
that go out of control. These tend to be asthmatics.
- There is a big demand for information from Ecstasy users. Gilman is
often faced with questions such as "Why do I feel fucking weird after
E but not after speed?" He tried to make a "Raver's guide to neurology"
using 'pint pot' analogies, but it proved too difficult to combine easy-to-understand
information with accuracy.
- Dr. John Merrill, a consultant with the Regional Drug Dependence Service
at Prestwich Hospital, says toxicity associated with MDMA is caused by overheating.
This causes minute blood clots to form which can cause a stroke and internal
bleeding. Body heat is increased by activity, so MDMA is probably not toxic
when the user remains still. If someone is overheating, first aid should
include cooling the body.
- Amphetamine and Ecstasy delay male ejaculation in sex, but Ecstasy is
reputed to enhance sexual pleasure after a trip. Many traditional working
class men go out to raves without their partners, and although the women
don't like this their compensation is good sex after the men come down.
Dr. Merrill says that the hot sweaty environment found at raves, combined
with fatigue and loss of appetite is conducive to the transmission of viruses.
- MDEA is also now available in Manchester. Wardle believes it may have
killed several people.
E is for Ecstasy by Nicholas Saunders (email@example.com)
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by Nicholas Saunders