How are ecstasy pills made?

We were last Monday. It was exactly 5:30 p.m. and I had been in bed for two hours with – I don't really know, but I like to believe it – 39 with fever and my head was about to explode. On the verge of dying (without any exaggeration, of course) I tell myself that it might be time to take a Doliprane.


That's when a strange debate began in my head.


_ Oh, what are you thinking? You're still not going to take a medicine for nothing, are you? whispered small voice n°1, appalled by the lack of common sense of its host.

_ But it's not for nothing there all the same, don't exaggerate, then intervened little voice n°2 who would have liked us to stop this headache by all means.

_ The pain is completely bearable. Sleep a little longer and the pain will pass, could not help but add small voice n°1, proud to be so strong. She.


Of course, this seemingly innocuous sentence, but hiding in reality a disguised reproach, instantly vexed little voice n°2. This one, accused of being weak and now on the defensive, wore her mask of "madam-know-it-all". She eyed her colleague with her haughty gaze:


_ Nah, but you have to stop there, you have a headache, you have aches, there's a medicine that was invented for that, it's called Doliprane, you take it, period. What do you think will happen to you? That a third arm will push you?


Little Voice No. 1 knew very well that Little Voice No. 2 was always convinced that she was right without ever making the effort to try to understand her, but she tried to support her words all the same calmly:


_ Because you know the long-term effects, you? Me no. We trust blindly but in real life, we don't know what's inside so the more we can avoid, the better.

It was then that little inner voice #1 burst out laughing while mentally treating little inner voice #2 of staying (his favorite insult).

_ Nan but the joke, and your ecstasy? Do you know what's in there maybe?


Little voice n°2 had just scored a point. Certainly. We didn't know, either, what was in the little colored pills that we had been happily swallowing for years...


But small voice n°1 had more than one argument in its bag and reminded her that they had provided her with far more beneficial effects than all the drugs she had been able to take in her life. And that was more than enough to give him confidence in their composition.


What the other answered that if it was illegal it is that there were surely good reasons for that and that the personal experiment did not prevail on that of all the company.


Little Voice #1 began to feel the anger rising. “Ah society! Let's talk about society...” But small voice n°2 chuckled before she finished her sentence and spoke to him about roundabouts, yellow vests and reptilians.


It was then that a deep voice, exasperated by so much childishness, rumbled in the heights.


“Before fighting for your ideas, you have to know what you are talking about, otherwise you will be silent. Then he added solemnly: And that goes for both sides. »


My inner judge had just decided.


While small voice n°1, more spiritual, relied on its own feelings, small voice n°2, more rational, wanted facts. If my inner judge, he knew that both could hold a truth, he also knew that neither of them ever made the effort to understand the other and to adapt to it.


Little voice n°1, more mature and wise since she had cracked last year then decided to take the first step and investigate. To reassure little voice n°2 but above all to gain legitimacy! (And who knows, maybe one day, little voice #2 will decide to test.)


So, what is ecstasy exactly?

 

Ecstasy, also called the “love drug”, is a psychoactive drug composed mainly of MDMA, but also other drugs, the presence and content of which depends on the laboratory that manufactured it. We often add caffeine, amphetamines or LSD, but we can sometimes find much more dangerous, even deadly drugs, such as PMA (this is why it is still better to have your drug tested by associations before consuming it).


When MDMA is pure and unprocessed (well, unless a small unscrupulous dealer has cut it in the meantime) it is found in the form of crystals that look like Guérande salt and sold in small sachets. If we add stimulants and visually transform it to make it more attractive to customers (fluorescent color and lab label stamped on it (watch out for counterfeits)) it then takes the form of colored stamps, which the we call ecstasy.


Ecstasy is consumed for its aphrodisiac, euphoric and empathogenic effects.



How is it made?

Ecstasy is made in the laboratory and requires several steps before arriving at its final result. Each of the stages is managed by a different intermediary for more discretion, organization and security, since it should be remembered that it is illegal throughout the world (although Holland and Portugal are much more flexible as to their consumption).


The first step in drug synthesis is the transformation of the basic product, called precursor.


At the very beginning, before the first laboratories (located mainly in Cambodia) were dismantled, it was oil from safrassas, a tree native to America and Asia. Then when its traffic was controlled and strongly curbed, the laboratories began to synthesize the molecule. Today, the closest to the original natural product is called PMK and is made mainly in China. But it too has long been subject to international laws and can only be used in perfumery or for medical reasons. This is why traffickers now use PMK-glycate, a molecule slightly modified from the basic one, but above all legal. The latter is sent by boat to Europe and will be transformed again in the clandestine laboratories of Poland or Belgium (Holland controls too much the importation outside the Schengen area of chemical products, legal or not) to become again the classic PMK.


The classic PMK then crosses the European borders (much freer) to reach the clandestine laboratories of the Netherlands, the world's leading producer of ecstasy.


In these converted and carefully hidden sheds in the Dutch countryside, the structure of the PMK is then modified so that it sticks to the chemical receptors of our little drug addict brains. Then, it is distilled (like alcohol) in order to purify it and then a solvent is added to it which is filtered to extract small crystals which will therefore be called MDMA.


At this moment, it is either sent as is to wholesalers who will then resell it to smaller traders, or sent to another intermediary (still Dutch) with huge compressors allowing dyes and other agents to be added. fillers, which will give those famous ecstasy pills.

How to be sure that it is well controlled?

 

That's the whole problem. Ecstasy being prohibited, it can only be controlled by the traffickers themselves and who says traffickers says (at least, I imagine) few scruples.


In recent years, the MDMA content of ecstasy pills has increased sharply (and is therefore also increasingly pure), the large producers certainly fighting against competition and the ever-increasing consumer demand, obeying, too , the laws of the market.


If the small vigilant retailers do not hide anything from us about the MDMA content in each ecstasy sold thanks to the online catalogs found on the dark web, some uninitiated people may be in real danger. An overdose of MDMA can lead to severe dehydration and, in rare cases, cardiac arrest. This is why it is recommended to always have your products tested by prevention associations which will provide you with kits free of charge.


The interest of drug traffickers being, all the same, to keep their customers alive and, above all, satisfied with the product, there have been very few accidents compared to the number of consumers in recent years. Of the 1.9 million French people who have already used ecstasy (source: Drugs.gouv.fr) (we don't have the regular figures but we are talking about around 10%, i.e. nearly 200,000 people) twenty deaths in France would be to be deplored each year (source francetvinfo.fr), that is to say a rate of approximately 0.01%.


As a reminder, alcohol kills 41,000 people each year (source: santépubliquefrance.fr) for 6.5 million regular consumers (source: santépubliquefrance.fr), a rate of around 0.6%.


But it's ecstasy that's still banned and alcohol still allowed...


But then, why are they banned?


Banned in France in 1970, in Canada in 76 and in the United States in 85, ecstasy has been much decried. Divergent way of thinking, disturbing public order, outrageous sexual practices, excessive open-mindedness on the part of consumers who found another reason to exist than work (sorry, I digress) it was not very popular to the authorities all that. We talked about accidents, deaths, but in fact there weren't many. At least not by the MDMA itself, but surely, it is true, by the other drugs that have been added to it.


Since then, the dangerous aspect has remained anchored in mentalities and its defenders are struggling to be heard to prove the contrary. If in the 1970s MDMA was used experimentally in addition to certain psychotherapies, and in particular to fight against post-traumatic stress, it was very quickly banned because of its festive use.


Recent studies have shown that MDMA, if its manufacture was controlled and consumed in moderation, did not pose any danger, or even brought many benefits to its users (see article https://www.sciencesetavenir.fr/sante/cerveau-et- psy/la-mdma-ecstasy-crosses-a-new-step-against-post-traumatic-stress_112601) Israel even prescribed it for the first time to about fifty soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress (see article https://www.traxmag.com/la-mdma-vient-detre-prescrite-pour-la-premiere-fois-comme-medicament/)


Completely natural initial precursor, synthetic one authorized for medical reasons, ecstasy tablet containing almost only MDMA, extremely rare accidents (and which only happen because no government institution controls counterfeits), serious studies praising the benefits, so France (and my little rational inner voice that always needs proof to be convinced) when will a change of mentalities?


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