Market assessment: HIGH with an increasing market trend.
What is it?
The chemical 3,4-methylenedioxymethylamphetamine (MDMA) is an amphetamine-type substance commonly known as “ecstasy” when sold in pill or tablet form.
The MDMA market in Queensland
- Following an earlier contraction in the MDMA market between 2008 and 2011, the availability of MDMA in Queensland has increased since 2012. The purity of ecstasy-type substances entering the Queensland market has also increased.
- The Queensland MDMA market is volatile and dependent on international trends in the availability of precursors and end product.
- This drug continues to be popular among younger drug users, and is typically used in social settings such as nightclubs and music festivals.
- In the past three years, the majority of ecstasy-group seizures occurred in the Brisbane and South Eastern Region.
- The MDMA and new psychoactive substances (NPS) markets are closely related. Forensic testing of ecstasy pills frequently identifies the presence of l NPS such as NBOMe-type substances. The recent contraction in the NPS market is likely attributed to the increased availability of MDMA.
- There has been an increase in demand for and supply of MDMA crystal. MDMA crystal is reportedly higher in purity than MDMA powder.
Organised crime presence
- Organised crime has a significant involvement in the MDMA market, and the increased availability of MDMA internationally is likely to continue to attract organised crime groups to this market.
- Entrepreneurial individuals are using online websites to import large quantities of MDMA for onselling to social circles for profit. Local clandestine laboratories producing MDMA-type substances have also been detected.
What you should know
- In Queensland ecstasy tablets contain a range of diverse substances and adulterants. Some of these substances are harmful and have been associated with deaths.
- Organised crime groups are likely to become increasingly involved in the sale of potentially harmful counterfeit MDMA pills as demand for MDMA increases.
- Substances sold as ecstasy (that are actually cheaper, more harmful alternatives) have also been linked to deaths in Queensland, interstate and overseas.
- The higher purity of MDMA now available in Queensland may add to the harms and risk of overdose among ecstasy users who have become used to lower purity pills — particularly those who are used to taking multiple pills at a time to achieve the desired effect.
- Overseas there have been detections of high concentration MDMA pills (200mg compared to 30mg). Significant health effects and fatalities are expected if these substances were to enter the Queensland market.