Ecstasy and Suicide

Authors


Additional information and reprint requests:
Prof. Roger W. Byard, M.D.
Discipline of Anatomy and Pathology
Level 3 Medical School North Building
The University of Adelaide
Frome Road
Adelaide
SA 5005
Australia
E-mail: roger.byard@sa.gov.au

Abstract

Abstract:  Deaths due to the ring-derivative amphetamines are not common and are usually accidental involving dehydration and hyperthermia. Suicides from 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) and related ring-derivative amphetamines overdose are rare. A 15-year-old female who had a history of depression and previous suicide attempts was found dead with a suicide note. Toxicology demonstrated lethal serum concentrations of MDMA (9.3 mg/L), with 34 mg/kg of MDMA in the liver, 2.4 mg/L in the urine, and 530 mg/kg in the stomach. The cause of death was MDMA toxicity, the manner suicide. While MDMA may be detected in victims in other drug-related or traumatic deaths, it is only rarely used in isolation in suicide, with a predominance in the 21- to 25-year-old range. Despite the rarity of such events, the possibility of a nonaccidental manner of death should be considered when high levels of MDMA and associated amphetamines are found at autopsy.

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