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Sunday, 28 July, 2002, 12:42 GMT 13:42 UK
Ecstasy price 'falls to record low'
Ecstasy
The average street price of ecstasy is now 3
Ecstasy tabs can now be bought for as little as 1 in parts of Britain, a leading drugs advice group has claimed.

The Independent Drug Monitoring Unit (IDMU) also warned that the average street price of the drug has fallen to a record low of 3.

Its findings will fuel fears that ecstasy, often considered a clubbers' drug, is becoming more accessible to young people and children.

The government recently rejected calls from an influential group of MPs to downgrade ecstasy from a Class A to a Class B drug.

Research has linked it to health problems including depression and anxiety.

Dealers

The IDMU findings, published in the Independent on Sunday, said the 1-a-tab price was most common in the north west of England.

And dealers who asked for 3-a-tab this year would have been likely to charge 6 in 2001, the group said.
Jade Slack
Jade Slack, 10, died after accidentally taking ecstasy

It claimed the price had fallen steadily in recent years.

In 2000 ecstasy users would have been expected to pay 7, compared to 8.40 in 1999 and 9.50 in 1998.

In May the government ruled out the downgrading of ecstasy, claiming it would inevitably result in a "significant increase in the number of users, especially among the very young".

Tragic death

And in June scientists claimed that even small amounts of the drug can significantly damage users' memories.

It has been identified as a cause of anxiety, panic and confusion and an increased risk of mental health problems.

Two weeks ago 10-year-old Jade Slack became one the latest people to be killed by ecstasy, after she accidentally took up to five tablets.

The IDMU research, which is used to develop government drugs policy, will be officially released in January of next year.

The organisation also publishes figures for other illegal drugs including heroin, LSD and amphetamines.

See also:

16 Jul 02 | England
22 May 02 | Politics
17 Apr 02 | Health
21 May 02 | E-F
18 Dec 00 | Health
14 May 00 | Health
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