Pubdate: Mon, 1 Jun 1998 Source: Scotsman (UK) Contact: http://www.scotsman.com/ Author: Jerry Ross KITS UNLIKELY TO CHANGE ECSTASY USE PATTERN Sir, - The availability of testing kits for ecstasy (your report, 26 May) is unlikely to change the pattern of use in the UK. MDMA (ecstasy) is difficult to manufacture and its frequent users are alert to the possibility that tablets devoid of MDMA may contain other compounds. But unwanted compounds have never been found in quantities which would cause death. Since the ecstasy-related deaths at Hanger 13 and the death of Leah Betts (caused not by an ecstasy tablet, but by an excessive and damaging intake of water afterwards), young adults are aware there is a chance, albeit a tiny one, that taking ecstasy can be fatal. This has precipitated a division between those who are prepared to take the chance and those who are not. The emergence of a kit which would confirm the presence of ecstasy will do nothing to persuade the abstainers to join the partakers, since it is the effect of the ecstasy itself which is feared. Jerry Ross Gorgie Road, Edinburgh - --- Checked-by: "Rolf Ernst"