Police credit public appeal for ending ecstasy overdoses

Calgary police say a public campaign to educate people about tainted ecstasy and encourage people to report dealers helped end a rash of overdoses in 2012.

Nine people died early last year from using ecstasy that contained PMMA, or paramethoxymethamphetamine.

Staff Sgt. Tom Hanson said on Thursday that the deaths stopped after police made a public appeal about the the dangers of the drug and pictures were released of seven people charged with trafficking the tainted drug.

"We have always relied on the support of the city and the media to assist us in bringing the risks and dangers together out to the public's attention. But by the same token, we don't want us use it every time either. You want to make sure you pick the right time and opportunity to make sure the issues that are very exigent are brought to people's attention in that way," said Hanson.

There have been no deaths linked to PMMA in Calgary since February 2012.

Calgary police laid 780 drug-related charges in 2012.

Hanson says marijuana, cocaine and opioids, including oxycontin and morphine, remain the most common drugs in the city.

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