Super strength ecstasy pill alert issued by festival drug testers ahead of Glastonbury 2024

Drug dealer selling ecstasy pills to a drug addict
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images)

People heading to festivals this summer have been issued a warning over ‘super strength’ ecstasy pills, according to the UK’s leading drug testing charity.

The Loop, which tests substances in nightclubs and festivals, has shared advice to festival-goers ahead of major events such as Glastonbury, which begins on Wednesday, June 26.

The charity explained that its testing suggests a change to the MDMA market, with ecstasy pills increasing in strength. The charity warned people to be on the lookout for larger ecstasy pills as they often indicate a higher strength.

In a post shared to The Loop’s X account (formerly known as Twitter), it said: “The Loop's testing suggests the MDMA market is changing: Average pill strength increased to >180mg MDMA. The proportion of stronger pills increased to >1 in 10 with 250+mg. *Bigger pills often indicate high strength & the need for extra caution. #SizeMatters #TakeQuarterSipWater.”

The Loop explained it would be launching a ‘Size Matters’ campaign to put the spotlight on the “return of high strength ecstasy pills”. It explained: “The Loop has tested over 150 products sold as MDMA this year and found the average strength of ecstasy pills has significantly increased, to about two times a common adult dose. Some contain over 300mg of MDMA (three times an adult dose).”

In the 2021 post-lockdown festival season, The Loop found a huge increase in synthetic cathinones and caffeine being mis-sold as MDMA, with nearly half of products sold as MDMA containing no MDMA at all. The charity found the average pill strength in 2019 was around 194mg, with just seven per cent of MDMA products containing no MDMA.

This is the first time that The Loop has tested any pills containing over 300mg of MDMA since before the pandemic. It has identified a number of pills containing over 250mg of MDMA, including the Mottled Green Baby Yoda (~260mg), the Grey Pop Smoke (~290mg), the Purple Pop Smokes (~300mg), and the Green Tour (~290mg).

The Loop warned similar looking products can come in different sizes, strengths, and even be different drugs altogether. It is advised to wait at least minutes before considering taking another dose, to drink water slowly, and take regular breaks from dancing to help your body temperature be regulated, find shade where possible, and seek medical advice if you or your friends feel unwell.

The charity will be testing drugs throughout the summer, both at festivals and at its Home Office-licensed labs in Bristol.

For more information about drug testing and advice, visit Drug Science and The Loop.