The “Blue Punisher” are the strongest ecstasy pills ever found, this time in a club in Manchester and contain up to five times the usual dose making them potentially very dangerous.
Drug analysts at a club in Manchester in the north of England have found what may be the world's strongest ecstasy pill ever.
The record-breaking pill, a "Blue Punisher", was tested and retested last week by the MANDRAKE drug analysis lab at Manchester Metropolitan University.
The unusually thick, heavy, diamond-shaped blue pill was found to contain 477 mg of the psychoactive stimulant MDMA, four to five times the usual dose found in ecstasy pills. A dose of 125 mg is considered a high dose of MDMA, which is also sold in powder and crystal form.
The super-strong pill weighed in at 650 mg, which MANDRAKE says is “considerably heavier than normal.”
It was tested as part of a potent batch of Blue Punisher pills – ranging in MDMA content from 397mg to 477mg – seized by bouncers at multiple Manchester clubs about 10 days ago. At one of the clubs, analysts found a total of six pills containing 477 mg of MDMA in a bag.
Blue Punisher pills, which use the skull logo of Marvel antihero the Punisher, often contain large amounts of MDMA. Extra-strength versions of the 250mg and 300mg pills were found at festivals in Bristol and Cornwall in 2018. Last week, an inquest learned how 19-year-old Harley Girven died after taking two "triple strength" Blue Punisher pills during a night out with friends in 2019.
But all the pill-testing experts spoke to said the 477mg pills found in Manchester are very likely the strongest ecstasy tablets ever on record.
Strongest ecstasy pill with largest amount of MDMA in the world
A spokesperson for drugdata.org, a US-based drug analysis lab that has tested thousands of ecstasy pills from around the world over the past two decades, said the pill was "stronger than any pill registered on drugsdata.org." The next strongest pill the lab had encountered before was a 366mg purple Philipp Plein skull pill found in Vienna, Austria last year.
Drug analysis expert Guy Jones from Reagent Tests UK said: “This is a new world record. It cannot be ruled out that a stronger one was once made, but the number of pills above 400 mg with a public test result can be counted on one hand."
Fiona Measham, chair of criminology at the University of Liverpool and director of the drug testing NGO, The Loop, said: "It's probably one of the highest amounts of MDMA in an ecstasy pill in the world."
She said the extra thickness of the six pills could mean they were produced by accident.
“I think it's more of a joke than intentional. Maybe the boss went to lunch and the junior got in charge of the pill press and got the consistency wrong. The variations in width of this batch suggest the inconsistency of amateur presses.”
Measham said the super strength pill “illustrates how dangerous the lack of information about the MDMA content of pills can be.”
“The customer usually doesn't know the strength of ecstasy pills bought on illegal markets and reagent tests can't help that. So their lives are in danger for the lack of one simple fact: the MDMA content of the pill they bought. If a customer uses a drug checking service and discovers that the strength of a pill is 477mg, they can simply divide it into quarters and have 4 average adult doses of MDMA, with no more risk than any other 120mg pill. Knowledge is power, but lack of information about strength can turn a pill from benign to deadly.”
In Wales, pill test lab Wedinos found a "Jurassic Park"pill containing 358 mg MDMA contained, while in Manchester in June “Blue Tesla”pills contain 300 mg of MDMA.
Ecstasy pills have grown in strength over the past decade, after a scarcity as a result of which many pills no longer contain MDMA. In 2014, the average MDMA content of pills had risen to 108mg and the strongest pill was purple “Burger King” of 300 mg. In 2018, the average pill contained between 150 and 200 mg of MDMA and analysts came across "super pills" such as a 360 mg skull-shaped tablet tested by the Trimbos Institute, which tests pills in the Netherlands.
Ironically, many drug users in the UK have complained about a post-lockdown scarcity of MDMA, leading some batches to contain other stimulants instead of the real ones.
The Trip Report, an early warning system for ecstasy users, has just published the latest list of very strong and counterfeit pills found in Europe.