Ecstasy users taking 'lethal gamble', says coroner

A coroner said ecstasy users were taking a "lethal gamble" after hearing how a woman died after taking a concoction of drugs with her boyfriend.

Nicole Tomlinson, 19, from Darlington, told her partner, James Meaney, she was having a "bad trip" before collapsing.

It happened on February 28, where she and her partner were admitted to Darlington Memorial Hospital.

Toxicology reports found she had taken para-Methoxyamphetamine (PMA) instead of the more usual variety of MDMA.

At an inquest in Chester-le-Street, coroner Crispin Oliver ruled her death was by misadventure.

Became agitated

He said ecstasy users would not know which variety they had been sold, adding: "It could be a fatal gamble."

Mr Meaney told police they had become ill after they each took three tablets that he had bought, and gone to a party, the night before.

On their return to his parents' home in Headlam Road, Darlington, she became agitated and collapsed, dying later in hospital.

He was arrested afterwards on suspicion of supplying illegal drugs and the CPS was considering whether charges should be brought.

Dr Steven Beck, a histo-pathologist at the University Hospital of North Durham, said PMA was renowned for the speed with which it increased heart rate and body temperature.

"Hence, a user believing he or she is consuming a certain amount of MDMA could be consuming a dose of PMA which is potentially lethal, depending on the purity of the pill," he said.

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites