Penticton police warn of potentially fatal ecstasy

Ecstasy pills that are believed to have caused deaths elsewhere in the province are now possibly being sold in Penticton.

Ecstasy pills that are believed to have caused deaths elsewhere in the province are now possibly being sold in Penticton.

“Penticton RCMP are warning the public that information has surfaced that a batch of ecstasy pills, believed to be responsible for deaths in Alberta and the Lower Mainland has allegedly arrived in Penticton and is currently being sold on the streets,” said Sgt. Rick Dellebuur.

Dellebuur said RCMP are advising the public not to consume any pill or powder substance that has been obtained through illicit sources that may or may not be ecstasy.

The B.C. Coroners Services reviewed 16 deaths of B.C. ecstasy users in 2011 and early 2012 and found three victims in the Lower Mainland and two more on Vancouver Island tested positive for paramethoxy-methamphetamine (PMMA), which RCMP believe is being used as a cheaper ingredient.

“It’s considerably more neurotoxic,” said provincial health officer Dr. Perry Kendall.

Health officials said PMMA is a rare drug and takes effect much more slowly than expected by ecstasy users, who may be used to feeling the effects within 45 minutes. Kendall said users may think the pills aren’t working or they’re weak and take a second or a third one then overdose.

“They’re thinking they have lower dose pills,” Kendall said. “In fact, they have higher dose pills that are a lot more toxic.”

Kendall said the pills are made in the bathtub so there is no guarantee one pill has the same composition as another. He said the pills are typically contaminated with other drugs, including methamphetamine, ephedrine, caffeine, ketamine (an anaesthetic) and PCP — a horse tranquilizer.

In a medical health officers update for physicians published in January it recommends individuals should avoid taking ecstasy, however, if a person does they should not be using a combination of alcohol or other drugs at the same time, no more than one or two doses in an evening and stay hydrated with sports drinks or non-caffeinated soda pop. The information also suggests ecstasy users should be with a sober person who can be alert for any signs of ecstasy toxicity including agitation, confusion, hyperthermia, loss of consciousness and seizures.

Chief Coroner Lisa Lapointe emphasized that every ingestion of ecstasy is a risk as there is no way of determining the actual ingredients of a drug concocted for profit in an unregulated environment. She said there is no known safe dose.

Anyone with information concerning this batch of drugs are asked to contact the Penticton RCMP at 250-492-4300 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).

-With files from Jeff Nagel, Surrey North Delta Leader

Just Posted

Geordie Fife exits the dunk tank during 2017’s Discovery House Father’s Day festivities at Skaha Lake Park. The fundraiser helps raise awareness of the work done at the house and break down the stigma associated with addiction. (Western News File)
Discovery House Father’s Day fundraiser goes digital

The addiction recovery program will be rolling out videos ahead of the fundraiser

The proposed design of the five-storey building on Front Street. (City of Penticton)
Five-storey building proposed for Penticton’s Front Street

It will be the second time the proposal will head to council

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from St. Eugene’s residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

RCMP thanked the public for assistance in finding Benjamin Archie, last seen in Princeton. (RCMP)
Missing Chilliwack man found safe and sound

The 80-year-old had walked away from his home in Chilliwack

57-year-old Kathleen Richardson was discovered deceased in her home Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Her death is considered a homicide and connected to the slain brothers found on a Naramata forest road. (Submitted)
Naramata community in shock as condolences pour in for homicide victim Kathy Richardson

Richardson was well liked in the community, a volunteer firefighter with a home-based salon

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

(Heather Lueck image)
Crash north of Enderby knocks out power, slows Highway 97A traffic

A witness shared images of a medical helicopter landing at the scene

The RCMP presence in Central Okanagan public schools is being reviewed by the board of education. (File photo)
RCMP presence welcomed in Central Okanagan public schools

Staff survey feedback overwhelmingly positive from students, staff and parents

Most Read