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Recently, in Wellington, FL, a deadly chemical nicknamed, “Dr Death,” by health professionals is being detected in ecstasy pills. Dr Death, which is the chemical para-methoxyamphetamine (PMA) reacts with serotonin in the brain and acts much like an antidepressant, but with hallucinogenic attributes.

Interestingly enough, PMA is often being synthesized by accident by black market chemists attempting to manufacture MDMA. Down the line, ignorant dealers distribute the drug as ecstasy, unknowingly.

The onset of the effects of MDMA is much more rapid than PMA, which can take up to two hours to produce its effects. The typical solution for users assuming they are taking weak drugs is naturally to take more. Two hours later they’ve overdosed. Since May of this year, PMA has been linked to six deaths in the state of Florida.

Dr Death can cause a fatal overdose in a number of different ways. Cases have been documented of a user’s body temperature being raised 108 degrees. Other symptoms can include an elevated heart rate, hypertension, convulsions and even cerebral hemorrhaging.

The ecstasy pills in Wellington likely to contain PMA are labelled as “Green Apples.” They’re green pills with an imprint shaped like an apple in the center.

Ecstasy pills being adulterated with other substances is nothing new. Anything from PCP to special K, to anabolic steroids could be present in an E pill, making taking them a lot like Russian roulette.

An organization called Dance Safe provides reagent testing kits, with which a chemical solution is dripped onto the pills and a color change can indicate what is contained in the pills. Although a reagent test is not a hundred percent conclusive, ‘they can identify a variety of substances, including PMA. Dance Safe reagent test kits are available on their website www.dancesafe.org