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Rolling North: Super-Potent Ikea-Labeled Ecstasy Sweeps Europe, Reaches Sweden

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Recently, a new batch of super-potent ecstasy has arrived in Europe; the flashy blue-yellow tablets bear an Ikea logo and have been associated with a number of overdose cases. Ironically, the new killer pills have only been recently encountered in Sweden itself, the country that spawned Ikea the furniture giant.

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In the Channel Island of Jersey, police warned that the super-potent pills were much stronger that ordinary ecstasy that is commonly sold on the black market. An 18-year-old man who died on Saturday morning is suspected to have taken Ikea-labeled ecstasy.

"This is completely unacceptable and Ikea has nothing to do with it," an enraged Emil Eriksson from Ikea's press department told Swedish national broadcaster SVT.

Analysis carried out in the UK and the Netherlands revealed that the new tablets may contain twice the ordinary dose of the active substance MDMA.

"Usually, 75 to 100mg is considered to be a normal dose. The tablets encountered on the UK market may contain up to 200mg of MDMA," physician Erik Lindeman of the Poison Information Center told SVT.

No similar tests have been carried out so far in Sweden, but the case is unusual in that most fatalities related to club drugs involve pills that contain other active substances that mimic the effects of MDMA. Since most of the MDMA sold in Sweden comes from Holland, Erik Lindeman forecasts a rise in stronger tablets as well.

​Last week, the Stockholm Police came out with a warning of a stronger variant of ecstasy in circulation. The warning was published after a woman died and a number of people sought emergency help in connection with an outdoor drug party. Although the police could not establish a clear link between more potent ecstasy and the overdose, a warning about tablets going under the name of Don Perignon was issued.

"We don't know the habits of these girls, but you should not get this kind of reaction with a normal dose," Annika Ljung of the Stockholm Police said about the incident. According to Vice, while the CDC recorded 52,404 drug-related deaths in the US in 2015 (prescription and otherwise), MDMA only accounted for an estimated 50 of these.

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According to Lindeman, MDMA releases stimulant substances into the brain, which leads to a feeling of excitement and increased alertness, which is often described as "togetherness with the cosmos."

An MDMA overdose leads to an increased body temperature, high blood pressure and an increase in the risk of a heart attack. The leading cause of MDMA-related deaths is believed to be complications from heat stroke. In addition to this, MDMA intake is closely associated with another risk due to a popular misconception, as people erroneously believe it's possible to keep from overheating by drinking copious amounts of water.

"We see many such patients in Sweden. People who within several hours drink 5 to 6 liters of water and develop water poisoning symptoms," Erik Lindeman said, explaining that MDMA impedes the kidneys' ability to secrete water, which, in turn, may cause brain swelling, especially in women, due to a dangerous combination with the estrogen hormone. "There has been quite a large number of deaths among young women associated with water poisoning," Erik Lindeman said.

Another problem associated with ecstasy intake is that the exact amount of the active substance is difficult to predict and is somewhat of a lottery.

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