Dying to get high: Number of ecstasy-related deaths at highest level in ten years

ITV Granada Reports investigation into growing number of ecstasy related deaths Credit: PA

The number of ecstasy-related deaths is at an all time high in the UK, and in the North West, experts say there has been an alarming rise in the number of people being killed or harmed after taking the party drug.

On Saturday (10th December 2016), Greater Manchester Police confirmed that a 19-year-old woman had died after taking ecstasy.

Her death follows the deaths of 16-year-old Sky Nicol, from Lancashire, in March this year, 17-year-old Faye Allen, from Liverpool, in May, and Stephanie Shevlin.

With the number of people using the drug increasing and the strength of pills higher than ever, there are warnings that this could be the most dangerous time to take ecstasy in a generation.

  • 600% increase in the number of ecstasy-related deaths in the UK in the last 5 years (Office for National Statistics)

  • Number of ecstasy-related deaths in the North West up from 1 in 2010 to 8 last year

  • Ecstasy use up almost 50% in the last few years

Stephanie Shevlin, from Liverpool, was just 22 when she died in June 2016 after taking MDMA during a night out in Crewe.

She had been due to start college in September- studying computers.

Her mother, who just hours before Steph's death had told her daughter to 'stay safe and have fun' has described the horror of that night:

Michelle Shevlin, mother of Steph Shevlin Credit: ITV Granada Reports

Experts say one of the most worrying things about ecstasy is that is is getting stronger and stronger.

Harry Sumnall is a Professor in Substance Use at the Public Health Institute:

Credit: The Loop

Dr Simon Brandt at Liverpool John Moores University tests ecstasy pills. He told ITV Granada Reports pills are up to three times stronger now than they were ten years ago.

At her home in Liverpool, Michelle Shevlin told us that she is heartbroken by her young daughter's death:

For more information on ecstasy, see the following websites:

Later on this week we will be looking at the reasons why some people would like to see ecstasy legalised.

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