Cheshire East Council and Cheshire Police are warning people about the dangers of PMA following three deaths in Cheshire believed to be linked to the drug.
Detectives are investigating the death of two women in Macclesfield and early indications suggest a key factor in the deaths is the Ecstasy-like drug ‘PMA’.
Rachel Clayton, 34, and Emma Speed, 30, were found dead at a house on Crompton Road on Sunday, April 7, 2013.
Toxicology results revealed evidence of PMA in their systems.
PMA was also found in the system of a 34-year-old man who was found dead in a caravan on Batemill Close, Macclesfield in February.
At this stage there is no evidence to suggest a link between the deaths.
PMA can be in tablet or powder form and is sold as a powerful form of Ecstasy. It is often referred to as ‘Mitsubishi Turbo’s’, ‘Pink Ecstasy’, ‘Dr Death’ or ‘Pink McDonalds’. The pills are the same size and shape as an ecstasy tablet and can be white, but are often pink and usually have the letter ′M′ on them, although the initials may vary.
The drug in the pill is actually an amphetamine known as ‘Paramethoxyamphetamine′ or ′PMA′. It is an illegal substance and possession, use or selling the drug is a criminal offence.
Although the drug can resemble an Ecstasy tablet, it does not have the same effect or take effect as quickly as an Ecstasy tablet and, as a result, users may take more of them believing there has been no effect and consequently put themselves more at risk of a fatal overdose.
Further complications can arise if the drug is mixed with alcohol.
Councillor Janet Clowes, Cabinet member in charge of health and adult social care, said: "The risks from taking potentially contaminated and unregulated drugs are very high.
"If you are concerned about someone you know who may be at risk or want help for yourself there are a number of services in Cheshire East which can help.
"You can access free confidential advice and information as well as the different types of treatment options that are available to you."
There have been a number of deaths across the country linked to PMA in the last 12 months and Cheshire Police is liaising with other police forces and sharing information and intelligence to establish any potential links or information about the source of where the drug is coming from.
Cheshire Police’s Assistant Chief Constable Ruth Purdie said: "While we would always urge people not to take any illegal substances, I am particularly keen to emphasise the dangers and potentially life threatening consequences of PMA.
"We have now had three deaths in Cheshire which appear to be linked to the drug and therefore I feel I have a duty to warn people about the potentially fatal consequences taking this drug can have.
"It is our duty to join up with our colleagues in the health service and make as many people as possible aware of the risk this drug poses and to do all we can to ensure no one dies and prevent further heartache for any more families.
"If anyone has any information about who is supplying this drug across Cheshire I would urge them to contact police or Crimestoppers anonymously so we can respond to this potential risk and take them off the streets."
Anyone with any information can call Cheshire Police on 101 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.