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Possible 5-MeO-AMT (non fatal) Overdose Documented in News Story
confusion between AMT and 5-MeO-AMT leads to 3 hospitalizations
Mar 2004, V 1.0
by Erowid

The following story was published on the Racine Journal Times website on March 12, 2003. It describes a young woman who purchased what she mistakenly thought was AMT from an online vendor, divided into 20 doses, took one and gave some to two friends. Although the article contains rather serious errors (apparently using the word "ounce" where they mean "gram") and never actually mentions 5-MeO-AMT, it says:
"The AMT she ordered was at least 10 times stronger than the AMT typically used for an Ecstasy-like high. Jamie had taken the less potent drug; she didn't know anything about the stronger substance."
This suggests, although certainly does not positively establish, that the young woman mistakenly thought 5-MeO-AMT was the same substance as AMT. Another factor for assuming the substance was actually 5-MeO-AMT is that the material was ordered during the period when most vendors had stopped selling AMT because of the DEA's announcement of intent to emergency schedule. Although there were vendors still selling AMT at the time of this story (end of February 2003), it had become replaced substantially by 5-MeO-AMT.

Although we had received reports about problems related to confusion between the two chemicals, this is the first mainstream media documentation of this confusion that we're aware of.

The original URL for the story is:

Drug danger on the Net
by Dustin Block, Journal Times, March 12, 2003

RACINE -- Matt knew he was in trouble. He had just swallowed the same pill as his friends, Sarah and Jamie (these are not their real names). The girls, both around 20 years old, had started to, in their words, "flip out." They were overdosing.

Matt, 23, had taken the same amount, and though he was bigger than Sarah and Jamie, he saw what to expect. Seven hours after taking an obscure party drug, he lost control, stripped naked and began yelling and flailing. Matt doesn't remember what happened.

"I can't describe, it was too intense," Matt said Tuesday, a week after leaving the hospital. "I guess the best way is everything was geometric. I could see polygons in everything ... it was really scary."

Matt, Sarah and Jamie had taken a popular party drug called AMT, short for alpha-methyltryptamine. [Erowid Note: We believe this is an error, and the chemical was not AMT, based on the other parts of the story.] They had ordered the drug as a white powder through an Internet Web site, separated it into doses and taken it during a March 1 party in Racine. All three were taken to St. Mary's Medical Center, where doctors initially wondered if they would survive. Their heart rates reached 200 beats per minute and their bodies began to shutdown.

"A doctor asked my mom if I had a 'DNR' order," Jamie said. DNR means "Do Not Resuscitate."

All three of the friends lost consciousness after taking AMT and later woke up in the hospital. They each said they experienced bizarre and frightening hallucinations and clearly lost track of their surroundings. Jamie thought she had 18 kids, Sarah saw giant bugs and rainbows and Matt felt like he was floating. Each described the break from reality as terrifying.

The drug, allegedly used for research, is legally bought and sold through the Internet. A quick look through the Google search engine found several Web sites selling an ounce of AMT for between $65 and $125 [Erowid Note: This is very clearly an error, AMT was never sold by the ounce by any online vendor, it is sold by the gram. Grams of AMT were being sold for the prices described, an ounce would have been 20+ times as expensive.]. The federal government is close to classifying the drug as a Schedule I substance that would make it illegal to possess or sell. The action is expected to take effect later this month.

"This stuff needs to be illegal," said Matt, who, along with Jamie and Sarah, came forward this week to warn people about the dangers of AMT. "I don't like the fact that people can still order it."

Jamie, 19, bought an ounce [sic] of AMT [sic] in late February through the Internet. Using a PayPal account, she tracked down a seller by e-mail and arranged the exchange. But she didn't get what she expected. The AMT she ordered was at least 10 times stronger than the AMT typically used for an Ecstasy-like high [Erowid Note: Although far from certain, the most likely candidate for this is 5-MeO-AMT]. Jamie had taken the less potent drug; she didn't know anything about the stronger substance.

The powder was split into 20 capsules, which Jamie brought to a party at Sarah's house. About 15 people had planned to take the pills -- until they saw Jamie. She took the drug at home and then drove to the party. The AMT, which usually needs hours to take effect, almost immediately made her sick. At the party, people saw she wasn't doing well. But some wondered if she took the drug wrong and others wondered if it was the drug at all. Sarah and Matt took the AMT next, but nobody else followed. Instead, they spent the night tending to their sick friends.

"If they had taken it, we would have all ended up dying in the basement," Sarah said.

AMT is new to the Racine area. Doctors at St. Mary's emergency room had never heard of the drug, and even a week later there was no one who knew enough to talk about how the drug worked or its dangers.

Racine police are investigating the incident, but are unsure if any laws have been broken, said Sgt. William Macemon. "It's the first time we've had this in the city," he said. Nationally, AMT has risen to prominence alongside another legal research drug named "Foxy," clinically known as 5-MeO-DIPT. Agencies around the country are beginning to patrol for the substances, which are becoming known as alternatives to Ecstasy. Their main attraction: They are, at least for now, legal.

The Drug Enforcement Administration filed a notice of intent on Jan. 28 to temporarily place AMT and Foxy on Schedule I of the federal Controlled Substances Act. The move would outlaw the drugs for up to 18 months while the DEA investigates making it permanently illegal.

Jamie, Matt and Sarah, who are all still dazed and light-headed from the overdose, hope the action goes through. They worry that people will hear their story and think they simply made a mistake or inexperienced.

"People have told us we just didn't know how to handle our trip," said Jamie, who showed deep bruises on her arm from where she was strapped to a hospital bed. "It wasn't like that at all." All three said that they did extensive research on AMT through the Internet -- there are dozens of positive testimonials for the drug along with instructions on how to use it -- and they still almost died. One of their friends wryly noted that some Web sites post instructions on how to take AMT followed by instructions on how to revive someone who has a bad reaction.

"I'm really upset this is legal and that it's so easy to get," Sarah said. "Any 15-year-old with a credit card could order some."

"For a lot of people what happened to us is a big joke to them," added Jamie. "They don't realize we were supposed to die."