By Katie Silver
Last updated at 8:46 PM on 20th November 2011
The ecstasy pill had its hey-day was in the early 1990s amongst clubbers and ravers.
In recent years the party drug had fallen from favour after it was attributed to the deaths of many clubbers and when supplies of MDMA became scarce.
Now, more highly potent, the drug is being re-marketed as a ‘premium product’ and is again becoming popular, Drugscope, the UKs leading drug watchdog has found.
The new drug was on sale in half of the 20 UK municipalities surveyed, Drugscope found.
It’s also pricier to, with an average price at £4 a pill, compared with last year’s average of £2.65.
Some high-potent pills go for £10 to £15 a pop, compared with ‘generic’ ecstasy pills which go for about £3, Fiona Measham, a criminology researcher from Lancaster University, told the Observer.
‘People who do ecstasy really love ecstasy,’ Ms Measham told the Observer.
‘There’s a real fondness for it, and so when good quality MDMA has come on the scene people have started using it again.
‘People say they become more the person they want to be when doing it.’
Simon, a drug-taker agrees: ‘It’s so popular because it works. There’s a reason it’s called ecstasy’
The increased potency means people are taking less pills too – one or two rather than five, Drugscope found.
The form of the drug is also changing shape with more people taking it in a powder of ‘crystal’ form, Ms Measham and her team have found.
In a survey of 109 clubbers, 28% admitted to taking an ecstasy pill in the prior month compared with 31% admitting to using MDMA powder.
It is especially popular post the nightclub, as a way to relax and amongst university students who see it as similar to cocaine, Ms Measham said.
‘There’s a social element to it now. People will buy a bag and share it round, ‘redosing’ throughout the night,’ she said.
‘In the past when it was just tablets, people would take it in the toilet and off they would go.
‘Its now like cocaine in the 90s. People chop up lines and do it together.
‘Its become a shared experience,’ she said.
Traditionally manufactured in the Netherlands, Chinese chemists have begun making a high-strength version of the drug and sending it straight to the UK.
‘The interesting issue is how this will affect the night-time economy,’ Ms Measham added.
‘How will it change the atmosphere in clubs where currently it’s all about cocaine and drinking?’
‘Are we going to see another summer of love?’