What does it look like?
PMA is sold as a pill, but the pills can be lots of different colours and can have different marks on them.
It is relatively easy to grind down pills to recolour and rebrand them with a new logo or design, so a pink heart-shaped pill can be made into a green round pill or a yellow square pill.
PMA has been found in ecstasy pills and these come in a variety of colours and shapes.
How does it make you feel?
PMA effects include:
- Giving people an energy buzz that makes them feel alert and alive
- Feeling in tune with surroundings
- Sounds and colours are more intense
- Feelings of great love for friends and strangers
Physical health risks
The effects of PMA can a take a while to kick in so there’s a risk of the user double-dosing to compensate, risking a fatal overdose.
Users should keep hydrated but sip no more than a pint of non-alcoholic fluid every hour.
Other risks include:
PMA affects the body's temperature control and the risk of overheating may be greater than ecstasy, as it is more poisonous. People can get so out of control that they don't realise they're in danger of overheating and dehydration.
Users should take regular breaks from dancing and other activities to cool down, and should keep hydrated. If you feel your temperature soaring on the dance floor seek help immediately.
As little as a quarter of a tablet (60mg) is enough to significantly increase blood pressure, body temperature and pulse rates.
Anyone with a heart condition, blood pressure problems, epilepsy or asthma can have a very dangerous reaction to the drug.
Anyone using too much can get paranoid and depressed.
PMA can cause muscle spasms and lots of people feel very sick after taking it.
Be careful not to overdo it when drinking fluids to avoid dehydration and overheating as drinking too much water can also be dangerous or even fatal. Sip no more than a pint of non-alcoholic fluid every hour. This is important because drugs like PMA and MDMA (ecstasy) can cause the body to release a hormone which suppresses the production of urine. So, if a user drinks a few pints of liquid too quickly, water builds up in the body and interferes with the body’s salt balance. This excess of water in the body can directly harm brain function, and this can be as deadly as not drinking enough water.
The long term risks associated with PMA have yet to be studied but many are likely to be similar to ecstasy.
What is PMA cut with?
Can you get addicted?
As with ecstasy, it’s possible to build up a tolerance (which means people need to take more PMA tabs to get the same level of buzz).
Psychological dependence may also develop (with an increased desire to keep taking the drug despite the risks).
There have been no clear physical withdrawals reported with PMA but, as with ecstasy, users may feel lethargic or low for some days after having used.
This is a Class A drug, which means it's illegal to have for yourself, give away or sell.
Possession can get you up to 7 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both.
Supplying someone else, even your friends, can get you life in prison, an unlimited fine or both.
Like drink-driving, driving when high is dangerous and illegal. If you’re caught driving under the influence, you may receive a heavy fine, driving ban, or prison sentence.
If the police catch people supplying illegal drugs in a home, club, bar or hostel, they can potentially prosecute the landlord, club owner or any other person concerned in the management of the premises.