New super-strength MDMA warning for Newcastle students

It’s putting people at further risk of hospitalisation

Experts have issued a new warning to students following reports of dangerously strong recreational drugs being taken at university parties, including in Newcastle.

MDMA, or ecstasy, has been becoming increasingly strong over the past 20 years, but experts say that some new strains are putting young people at risk of hospitalisation.

The drugs are increasingly being taken at so-called ‘super-parties’ in cities such as Newcastle, London and Manchester.

Newcastle City Council has allegedly discovered 136 of these parties in under a year, and some attendees have complained of having ‘comedowns’ lasting for several days.

Claire Dean, a spokeswoman for drug counselling service Lifeline, said: “For the first time we are having people coming to us with problems relating to MDMA, we have never seen that before.

“It is a danger to promising student careers. These drugs in the strength we are now seeing have a four-day comedown period, these kids are walking around like glass, unable to function”.

Because of the nature of student housing in many cities, these parties are being held in buildings that are unsuitable for playing host to so many people.

One party in Manchester was so overcrowded that the living room floor collapsed into the basement.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer for Tyne and Weir, Alan Robson, said: “The safety of young people is of paramount importance to us.

“You potentially have hundreds of young people involved, which could become a mass casualty incident, which is a horrific outcome for us.

“It’s a real recipe for disaster, the properties were built for families not for these large scale parties. It creates a perfect storm.”

Drug-testing kits are available from the Student Advice Centre in the SU

Tracy McCann, antisocial behaviour lead practitioner with Newcastle City Council, said: “It started at the end of the exam period last year when we began getting calls about very large scale parties with sometimes hundreds of people attending.

“There were security men on the doors and the exits were being blocked with sofas and mattresses.

“The parties were being widely promoted on social media and since then we have seen then happening more and more often.

“Not just in Newcastle, but across the country it has become the way students choose to party. They don’t want to spend their money going out to clubs when, in their eyes, they can do it their own way at home.

Students are encouraged to make themselves aware of the dangers of using any illegal substances by looking at websites such as The Tab Newcastle does not condone the use of recreational drugs.