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34 died from ecstasy-like drug in 60 days in Taiwan

Authorities calling attention to deadly drug PMMA during Lunar New Year holiday

34 died from ecstasy-like drug in 60 days in Taiwan

(CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Taiwan High Prosecutors Office (TPH) reported 34 PMMA-related deaths across the country late last year, with the youngest victim being a teenage girl.

The office is concerned over the unusually high prevalence of drug-related deaths. The Forensic doctors who examined the bodies of those who had died from overdose between October and December found traces of the illicit drug PMMA.

PMMA is a type of stimulant with hallucinogenic effects similar to those of MDMA, or ecstasy. Usually packaged in instant coffee sachets, it is a newly emerging drug that is popular among younger generations, as it is cheaper and easy to access.

PMMA is highly deadly, as it takes longer to feel the effects, so people may take additional doses in the mistaken belief that the first has not worked, sometimes resulting in an overdose. Side effects include heightened senses, dizziness, dehydration, increased blood pressure, sweating and rapid heartbeat, in some cases followed by difficulty breathing, heat exhaustion, or seizures, often leading to death.

The average age of the 34 victims was 26, and the youngest was 17 years old. According to the TPH, 28 of them had consumed drug-laced instant coffee.

The office on Tuesday (Jan. 21) called attention to the deadly drug during the seven-day Lunar New Year holiday, when many young people party and consume drugs without being aware of the potential consequences.