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Vrolijk RQ, Brunt TM, Vreeker A, Niesink RJ. 
“Is online information on ecstasy tablet content safe?”. 
Addiction. 2017 Jan 22;112(1):94-100.

In recent years, the prevalence of ecstasy use has increased in most European countries. Users can acquire information on ecstasy tablet composition through the internet. This study compares online information from two websites, Pillreports and Partyflock, to the validated Dutch Drugs Information and Monitoring System (DIMS) database, and aims to measure its accuracy and potential danger or value.


The drug-related information posted on and between 1 January 2014 and 31 December 2015 was investigated for accuracy and several information characteristics such as picture inclusion and dose range inclusion. In total, 471 informatory statements on ecstasy tablet content were analysed relative to the Dutch ecstasy market.


Informatory statements on the content of specific ecstasy tablets were scored as 'too high' or 'too low' if their concentrations deviated > 10 mg from the entries in the DIMS database within a 12-week time-frame, and scored as 'dangerous' if their concentration was > 40 mg too low. Unreported substances were scored as 'dangerous' if listed as an illegal or dangerous substance in the DIMS database and if present in relevant quantities. Also scored were the report characteristics 'picture inclusion', 'spread inclusion' and 'website source', which were tested for their association with report safety/danger.


On average, reports on ecstasy tablets from Pillreports and Partyflock show concentrations which are 10.6 mg too high [95% confidence interval (CI) = 6.7-14.4]. Qualitatively, 39.7% of the reports scored as 'too high' (95% CI = 35.2-44.4), 17.6% scored as 'too low' (95% CI = 14.0-21.2) and 15.5% had 'unreported substances' (95% CI = 12.3-18.9), resulting overall in 15.3% of the reports being scored as 'dangerous' (95% CI = 11.9-18.5). The report characteristic 'spread inclusion' associated inversely with report danger [Exp(b) = 0.511, 95% CI = 0.307-0.850, P = 0.01].


Information from the popular Pillreports and Partyflock websites tends to overestimate 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) concentrations in ecstasy tablets. In addition, 15.3% of the reports omit the relevant concentration spread, fail to report additional illegal or dangerous substances contained in the tablets or underestimate MDMA concentration by > 40 mg.

2016 Society for the Study of Addiction.

Key Words:

DIMS; Ecstasy; MDMA; internet; online information; pill reports
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