The Variability of Ecstasy Tablets Composition in Brazil

Authors

  • Loraine R. Togni M.Sc.,

    1. Forensic Toxicology and Chemistry Laboratory, Criminalistic Institute of São Paulo, São Paulo, SP, Brazil
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  • Rafael Lanaro M.Sc.,

    1. Poison Control Center, State University of Campinas, Campinas, SP, Brazil
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  • Rodrigo R. Resende Ph.D.,

    1. Department of Biochemistry and Immunology, Institute of Biological Sciences, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil
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  • Jose L. Costa Ph.D.

    Corresponding author
    1. Forensic Toxicology and Chemistry Laboratory, Criminalistic Institute of São Paulo, São Paulo, SP, Brazil
    2. Poison Control Center, State University of Campinas, Campinas, SP, Brazil
    • Additional information and reprint requests:

      Jose Luiz Costa, Ph.D.

      Forensic Toxicologist

      Núcleo de Exames de Entorpecentes

      CEAP-IC, SPTC

      R. Moncorvo Filho, 410

      05507-060 São Paulo

      SP, Brazil

      E-mail: jose.jlc@policiacientifica.sp.gov.br

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  • The authors acknowledge the financial support of Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (FAPESP, Grant No. 2011/06940-0 and 2011-06849-2).

Abstract

The content of ecstasy tablets has been changing over the years, and nowadays 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) is not always present in the tablets. The aim of this study was to investigate the chemical composition in the seized tablets labeled as ecstasy. We analyzed samples from 150 different seizures made by Sao Paulo's State Police by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry. MDMA was present in 44.7% of the analyzed samples, and another twenty different active substances were identified in these tablets, such as caffeine, 2C-B, piperazines, amphetamines, phencyclidine, and others. Methamphetamine was present in 22% of these samples. The results demonstrate a huge shift in the pattern of trafficking of synthetic drugs, where MDMA has been replaced in tablets mostly by illicit psychoactive substances, in a clear attempt to bypass the law. The great variability in the tablets composition may lead to an increased risk of drug poisoning.

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