Citation: Waggle Dance. "My First Trip to A & E: An Experience with BZP & Amphetamines (Sold as MDA) (exp76648)". Erowid.org. Aug 8, 2009. erowid.org/exp/76648
A bit of background, prior to this experience my friend L had been taking drugs recreationally for several years, I had been recreationally taking drugs for about a year and a half and she had introduced me to good quality samples of ketamine, MDMA, MDEA, 2C-B, 2C-T-7, 2C-B fly, 2C-I, 4HO-MiPT and various strains of mushrooms. The research chemicals were always procured directly from pharmaceutical companies, the mushrooms were home grown by one of my friends and we had an extensive ecstasy testing kit we applied to all pills and MDMA powder. Our pills were mostly bought from one dealer who L had come to trust for quality over the course of years. The point I’m trying to make here is that we were usually extremely cautious and this experience is an example of what can happen when you let your quality control slip.
A month or so before this experience we had tried some pills containing MDEA instead of MDMA and had found MDEA to be a more psychedelic experience. We were curious to try MDA as it was supposed to be more psychedelic still (since then I have had it and it is) and the psychedelic is what we liked in our drugs. A bit of digging around found a source for MDA and we bought a small bag of it in pure powder form (not from our usual dealer). Now crucially at this point for some reason we did not immediately test the powder. After the event neither of us has been able to come to a satisfactory explanation as to why.
The background: Both of us worked. My job at the time was quite depressing but things were looking up as I’d just been accepted at a new company and was working my notice, only a month and I was out of that hellhole. L enjoyed her job so we were both in a good frame of mind come Friday night and it seemed an excellent opportunity to experiment with the psychedelic aspects of MDA in the comfort of our house. We went through our usual ecstasy ritual of an early supper so we’d both have lots of calories free for the burning, tidying the house, watching a little light telly and reading a bit till eleven to allow time for digestion.
As it was in powder form we discussed whether to gelcap it up but came down in favour of just licking a finger and dabbing. Not an exact science but unless you have fingers like sausages and roll it around like you’re trying to batter your finger you’re not going to do yourself any harm. It tasted awful but doesn’t it always? Whilst waiting to come up we moved into my room and L broke out her yoga mat to do some stretches as she was getting RSI related back pain at the time. I was doing a lot of reading on roleplaying theory at the time so I was on the web pulling up pages and discussing the ideas with L. Within 45 minutes we both knew we were up as the conversation became more animated and the ideas flowed faster. We were both on a similar level from the same dose even though I am quite a portly chap and L is quite slim.
And I have to say it felt good. I felt very relaxed, at ease and creative pathways were firing in my brain like crazy. Just lying on my bed and breathing deeply felt fantastic. We both decided we quite liked MDA and it was time for another dab. Feeling full of energy L suggested moving out into the cul-de-sac we live on to spin some poi, I wasn’t quite in the mood for spinning myself but we went out so she could spin and I watched and carried on talking to her.
Then I got the headache. Very sudden onset, like a switch had been flipped. I excused myself and said I had to go lie down for a bit. L wanted to keep talking so we went to her room and lay on her bed. I had never had a headache like this one, my first thought was “so this is what a migraine feels like”. It was unbearable; it felt like my brain was being squeezed. After 5 minutes the words “Accident & Emergency” came up. We decided if things hadn’t alleviated in 30 minutes we’d get a taxi there. In those thirty minutes L tried having the lights low, having the lights off, playing soothing music, playing music quietly in the background and wrapping a damp towel round my head. By 30 minutes I was writhing and L was scared. It was time to make the dreaded trip to the hospital.
L tried to phone for a taxi but was told by all the companies she tried that they didn’t collect at that time on a Friday night. We live really close to a major bus route that fortunately would still have been running at this time (about 1 in the morning) quite regularly. But as I stumbled down the road towards it I honestly wasn’t sure I could make it. Every step I took was like a hammer blow inside my skull. I think I might have mumbled something about calling an ambulance but like a gift from god a black cab appeared.
A&E one o’clock Saturday morning is not fun. I believe me and L were the only non alcohol-related-injury people in there. The guy behind me seemed to have passed out and pissed himself, across from me a group of chav girls were alternately bursting into tears and screeching at each other and in the corner a younger guy was shouting angrily at an unconscious person on a trolley. I curled up on a plastic chair, blocked out the fluorescent lights with a damp towel we’d brought from home and whimpered a lot. After a few minutes L went and had a quiet word with the staff about how much pain I was in. I am pretty sure that seeing I wasn’t someone who’d been-drinking-been-fighting they bumped me up the queue to see a doctor. To that person on reception, I’m really grateful.
The nurse asked a bunch of questions and we gave him name of substance, approximate time of ingestions and symptoms. L offered him a sample of the powder we’d taken, but he said they had no facilities to test it with. He then went away to check what info they had on MDA and came back to say they had no information on MDA at all just the umbrella term ecstasy. In retrospect I was a bit shocked, this was a large inner-city hospital in England and their knowledge on recreational drugs and possible side effects seemed quite limited.
From this point on I was treated like royalty. I was whisked off to a private room, had an enormous needle shoved in my vein (just in case they would need it), hooked up to a machine that went ping and was told my blood pressure was 250 over 150 which certainly explained the headache. I didn’t even know it could go that high. Interesting new words entered the general discourse, words like ‘possibility of a brain haemorrhage’. I must observe at this point my mood was quite jovial; the alternative would have been to confront the fact that the next step along in my condition was probably death. I think it freaked the nurses out a bit, patients whose heads are about to explode shouldn’t occasionally surface from their whimpering foetal positions to earnestly enquire what that machine there does, or what that number means or make jokes about having an aneurism.
At some point L was given an information leaflet on ecstasy which she shared with me. It had some interesting things I didn’t know in it and a couple of things I’m certain were totally wrong but on the whole it was a good read till a nurse saw me looking at it and took it off me. I wasn’t supposed to see it ‘til I was better and could be admonished. After another half hour it became apparent my blood pressure wasn’t going to sort itself out so they gave me a pill they usually give to people having heart attacks. A couple of minutes later my migraine switched off as suddenly as it had switched on and my blood pressure bottomed out.
Unfortunately this meant I had to leave my swish private room and important looking bits of machinery. They kicked L out of the hospital and put me in a dorm for observation overnight. I of course couldn’t sleep, and passed the time chatting to the night sisters about ecstasy testing kits, common sense precautions and how great they thought their GPs were because they could get opiates by the bucket load for period pain no questions asked. The next morning a doctor waved the information leaflet at me and I politely stated I’d seen it the night before and could I please just be discharged so I could tell my friend I was alright.
In the following weeks several other people had suspicious experiences with that dealer’s MDA (non as near fatal as mine fortunately) and someone finally ran it through an ecstasy testing kit. No ecstasy. So someone sent it to a lab. A lot of BZP and a little speed. I wasn’t interested in piperazines before. Now I’m avoiding them like the plague. At the time of writing I believe BZP is still being sold as a legal high in some countries.
In the interests of full disclosure I should mention that several months after the incident both my parents were diagnosed with hypertension and are now on medication for it. I should also mention that in the following years I have continued to take MDMA, MDEA, LSD, 2C-B, mushrooms and (eventually) actual MDA all without incident.
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