Nearly half of all the pingers at UK festivals last year contained no MDMA at all

Basically, Brexit’s ruined drugs

Last year, nearly half of all the pills sold as MDMA at UK festivals were fake, containing no trace of the substance at all.

New research by drug-testing service The Loop found that 45 per cent of of the substances sold to festival-goers as MDMA didn’t actually contain the drug, up from just seven per cent in 2019.

Brexit and Covid lockdowns are being cited as among the potential causes of the spike in phoney pingers.


Pie chart comparing the levels of substances found in MDMA pills in 2019 and 2021

Researchers found that instead of containing MDMA, the pills were often comprised of cathinones, a new psychoactive substance (NPS), or even caffeine.

Unaware consumers of these drugs have reported episodes of psychosis, insomnia and panic attacks.

Scientists have suggested that with the aftershocks of Brexit still weighing heavy on the illegal drug market, this festival season’s batch of pills could still be affected.

Covid lockdowns are also thought to have resulted in suppliers halting or slowing down rates of pill production, further contributing to dealers looking elsewhere for substances to sell as MDMA.

The Loop tweeted: “As festival season gets underway, and with evidence of cathinones being sold as MDMA, please look after yourselves and your friends.

“Seek out welfare or other on site services if you are feeling unwell for any reason and follow the loop for updates and harm reduction advice.”

Featured image background: Shutterstcok/ Couperfield (edited)

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