WATCH: The Great MDMA Drought and Its Deadly Consequences

When Cambodian authorities seized and burned tonnes of a chemical used to make MDMA, blackmarket chemists created a different drug to plug the gap – one that ended up killing dozens of young people halfway around the world.
August 11, 2020, 10:21am

In the late-2000s, huge quantities of the safrole oil required to make MDMA were seized and burned in Cambodia – enough, in fact, to keep Britain’s pillheads buzzing for at least half a decade.

When blackmarket chemists used a different precursor chemical to make up new batches of MDMA, they were left with a different – and much more deadly – drug: PMA.

This is the story of how a drugs crackdown on one side of the world led to a number of deaths on the other – and how, ultimately, in the War On Drugs, more often than not it’s the drugs that come out triumphant.