Last year the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) warned that dangerously pure ecstasy pills and MDMA crystals were feeding a recent EU-wide resurgence in their use. A 2017 report by Drugwise, an online site providing information about illegal drugs, confirmed the trend was being seen on UK streets, saying purity levels of many class A drugs, including ecstasy, had reached “unprecedented” levels.
It said a resurgence in the popularity of ecstasy could be linked to a rise in the popularity of EDM. Tracy McCann, Newcastle City Council’s lead practitioner for anti-social behaviour, spoke out about the “super-parties” where some students are taking the drugs. “It started at the end of the exam period last year when we began getting calls about very large scale parties with hundreds of people attending,” she told the Daily Mail.
“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. 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.
“But the dangers from so many factors are obvious and we are acting before we have a mass casualty incident to deal with.”
Jade Makarski, a firefighter with Tyne and Wear Fire Brigade, said it was common for nitrous oxide (laughing gas) to be used at the parties, which is highly explosive.
She said: “If there was a fire it would blow up, it would take out the walls, the floor, the whole thing would come down. The exits are being blocked so that means we can’t get inside to get water on the fire which hugely increases the likelihood of fatality. “We are also talking about floorboards designed for family use which have tonnes of pressure on them so there is a great danger of collapse.”
Assistant Chief Fire Officer Alan Robson added: “These parties are a recipe for disaster, they create a perfect storm.”