MDMA shortage in the UK could be down to chronic lorry driver crisis
The ongoing labour crisis for lorry drivers could be contributing to a shortage of MDMA in the UK.
The Class A drug is currently in short supply across the UK, with the available supply not currently being enough to meet demand.
This shortage has raised concerns about more dangerous substitutes being peddled to unwitting customers, as well as encouraging dealers to cut what they have with other substances to make it go further.
Experts have claimed that disruption caused by Brexit and Covid-19 could have also contributed to the supply problems.
Niamh Eastwood, the executive director of charity Release, which specialises in drugs, said that the shortage may "certainly be a result of the reduction of HGVs carrying goods in from Europe, where illegal goods would usually be concealed amongst legal products, and where suppliers have prioritised getting in more lucrative drugs, such as cocaine and heroin."
England is currently one of few countries where nightclubs are allowed to open, meaning that producers in the Netherlands, which is a hotspot for the drug, have no domestic market to sell to.
The combination of high demand in England due to clubs being open and the difficulties in smuggling the illegal substance into the UK due to driver shortages, recent months have seen a rise in the number of more dangerous substitutes being sold instead.
Alarmingly, drug testing charity The Loop has said that during tests on substances seized at Lost Village Festival in Lincolnshire last week, only half actually contained MDMA, meaning that customers are not getting what they think they are.
Instead, the tests found a variety of substances, such as 3-MMC, 4-CMC, and eutylone, which all cause paranoia and anxiety and can lead to users taking more of the drug more quickly, increasing the chance of an overdose.
Inconsistency in what substances contain can also lead to users unknowingly taking combinations of drugs, which further increases the danger as it is not fully understood how these compounds interact with each other in the body.
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The Manchester Drug Analysis and Knowledge Exchange (MANDRAKE) highlighted this problem to MailOnline, saying: "These compounds are potentially more harmful, but the fact is they're not fully understood therefore people don't really understand what doses of things to take or what happens if they are taken in combination."
If you or someone you know has taken drugs and feels unwell, you should call an ambulance immediately.
Do not be ashamed to tell paramedics what you have taken as they need this knowledge to treat you.
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