Drug Tales from the Crypt: Cooked Alive by PMA

Pretty PMA victim Sara Aeschlimann, dead at 18.

This truly tragic tale involves the gruesome death of Chicago teen Sara Aeschlimann by PMA poisoning.  PMA, or para-methoxyamphetamine, is a highly toxic drug sometimes used as an adulterant in Ecstasy pills.  In 1997 and 2000, several PMA-related deaths occurred in Australia and the U.S., raising serious concerns about the safety of popping pills with unknown contents.  This is one of those stories, as told by Salon.com journalist Ted Oehmke on Erowid.org:

“Like other teens, Sara had experimented with drugs, and had recently confided to her mom that she liked to smoke pot every once in a while. That worried her mother. But Sara had a job and a wide circle of friends, and was just a few weeks from high school graduation. All in all, she seemed OK. Aeschlimann thanked her daughter for calling and hung up.

A short time after the call, as Sara was watching TV and playing pool in Harth’s basement, he reportedly offered the striking blond, brown-eyed girl a potent brand of ecstasy known as “double stack white Mitsubishi.” She had apparently taken ecstasy for the first time a couple of months earlier, and the round white pills were supposed to be the hottest version of ecstasy around. She washed down a few and waited for the drug’s effects to kick in.

Indeed, they did. Within hours, she was in convulsions and had to be rushed to the hospital. There, she lapsed into a coma and her body temperature rose quickly, not stopping until it reached 108 degrees. “She was bleeding everywhere,” says her mother. “Her blood cells were just erupting. Her intestines were bleeding; her stomach was bleeding. She was bleeding from the mouth. She bit her lip when she had a seizure, and it wouldn’t stop bleeding, but she was not moving at all.”

By 3 the next afternoon, Mother’s Day, she was dead. Instead of taking methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), the only chemical contained in unadulterated ecstasy, she had unknowingly swallowed paramethoxymethamphetamine, a much more dangerous chemical known as PMA. The DuPage County coroner’s office determined that Sara died from an accidental overdose of PMA, a substance also believed to be responsible for at least two other recent deaths in the Chicago area.”

It should be noted that drug prohibition is as much to blame for these types of incidents as the drugs themselves.  By regulating and controlling drugs like MDMA, the government could eliminate all risk of adulteration by unscrupulous dealers and manufacturers who “cut” pure drugs with all manner of chemicals for the sake of profit.

R.I.P. Sara Aeschlimann, victim of the drug war.

Mary Microgram

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