Prehospital lessons of fatal Ecstasy ingestion

Ecstasy tablet
Ecstasy tablet

Hi folks.

I am a parent to young kids. I dont normally worry about their exposure to recreational drugs yet…they are too young for that I think. But this case of a fatal Ecstasy ingestion at a popular social event did make me think. Firstly, because, the stepfather of the girl who died , is a paramedic and he did propose improvements to prehospital care at such events as a result of his daughter’s death. Secondly, because in the coronial inquest findings, the interviews of the friends and parents, indicate that the girl had been a user of recreational drugs regularly despite her parents counsel . This gave me pause and made me reflect, as a parent.

The other aspect to this coronial inquest was the suggestion by an expert witness, Professor Ian Jacobs ( yep the guy who did that RCT into adrenaline for prehospital cardiac arrest care..) that all states of Australia should follow the lead of Victoria and have a standard definition and training regulation for paramedic providers, essentially a national registration system. I support this idea. Do you? I would like to hear from prehospital providers in Australia and across the world.

Here is the Inquest findings


Take home lessons:

  1. The fatal dose of Ecstasy and amphetamine like recreational drugs is unpredictable as criminals manufacture these substances
  2. Prehospital identification and assessment of significant stimulant ingestion can be challenging in the early phases. History taking can be deliberately misleading.
  3. Core body temperature measurements may help identify serious cases in early stages
  4. Cooling techniques and rehydration are simple and effective methods in management in prehospital care
  5. There is no antidote for Ecstasy
  6. Engage your children and educate. Its no guarantee but knowledge is power

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