COLUMN: Ecstasy, with a good chance of death

Taking ‘E’ is playing chemical roulette. You could do it a lot, and stay lucky. Or, you could do it just once in your life and lose.

Tyler Miller, 20, of Abbotsford.

Died Nov. 27/11.


Cheryl McCormack, 17, of Abbotsford. Died Dec. 22/11.


Kato Burgess, 16, of Langley.

Died Jan. 15/12.


Three young people.

Three random, tragic deaths.

One thing in common.

They all took ecstasy.

And it killed them.

One was an accomplished figure skater and rugby player. Another was a budding musician.

All had lives full of promising potential ahead of them.

And it was all snuffed out, due to a little pill that was supposed to make them feel good.

In Cheryl’s case, it was ostensibly to help with weight control.

But that’s the problem with ecstasy, or MDMA, and its even more unpredictable imitators. They often do far more than what they’re supposed to do.

Taking ‘E’ is playing chemical


You could do it once, and feel good.

You could do it a lot, and stay lucky.

Or, you could do it one more time – or just once in your life – and lose.

Eighteen young people have died in B.C. in the past 14 months due to this drug, or some concoction sold as ecstasy.

That’s the other big issue with the little pills with the cute names such as hug drug, candy, beans, scooby snacks, pingers, thizz and care bears.

Like the party snack Bits & Bites – you get something different in every handful.

Crystal meth, cocaine, LSD, OxyContin, ketamine (an anesthetic used by veterinarians), GHB (a date-rape drug), and a long list of other highly toxic, wild-card substances are thrown into the recipes by the backroom, bathtub chemists.

The latest, deadliest ingredient to lace the alphabet soup of ecstasy is PMMA.

It’s another synthetic stimulant, five times more powerful than MDMA, and slower to react.

That encourages users to take another dose, and maybe even more after that.

And then suddenly, in some users, the body boils over.

If the temperature remains high for more than an hour, the chance of death or permanent brain damage is 75 per cent.

MDMA/PMMA was responsible for five of the B.C. ecstasy deaths last year.

Tyler was one of them.

Eventually, the PMMA tainted pills might disappear off the street. Losing one’s buyers isn’t good for the drug trade, after all.

But, as emergency room doctors point out, that will just leave the rest of the ecstasy variants out there, and the dying will continue.

It doesn’t have to be this way, of course.

There is a way to end the twisted, ugly irony of this drug called ecstasy.

Young people can listen to the messages being delivered by police, and medical authorities, and school officials, and hopefully, every parent and caregiver out there.

That message is simple. Say no.

Or, you don’t have to listen to the police and doctors and teachers and parents.

Just listen to Tyler and Cheryl and Kato.

But that’s impossible, you say.  They’re dead.

That’s right.

Listen to their silence.

It says everything.