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4. SOCIAL RISKS: Sociological/criminological aspects PDF Print E-mail
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Reports - EMCDDA Report on the risks assessment of 4-MTA
Written by Richard Dennis   

(Documents III and IV)

4.1 Sociological aspects

Some experienced ‘ecstasy’ users are a channel for the dissemination of information on 4-MTA. For
young people outside of the ‘ecstasy’-using population there seems to be a very low probability of
coming into contact with 4-MTA under present conditions.

There is no indication that 4-MTA is widely sought after, or likely to grow in popularity. The contrary
appears to be the case. The negative effects that have been described and attributed to ‘flatliners’
(such as: nausea, headaches and delayed effects) indicate a low likelihood that ‘flatliners’ will grow
in popularity, or become widely used. ‘Grapevine news’ of deaths and intoxications associated with
‘flatliners’ contribute to its negative image.

A proportion of more’ innovative’ drug users appear to be motivated to use ‘flatliners’ by a desire to
experience the full diversity of sensations. The number of ‘ innovators’ is not known but they are
not an insignificant group.
Increased testing services, informed Internet advice, and peer education may produce more
discrimination in the ‘ecstasy’ market.

Little is known of the use of 4-MTA in other settings. It has been suggested that a small minority of
drug users, who seek specific effects, might be using 4-MTA in their homes.

4.1.1 Social Consequences

There is no evidence specifically on 4-MTA. The available evidence on MDMA does not show any
major harmful social consequences for users arising directly from its use, in terms of family or other
social relations, problems concerning education, employment, or marginalisation. On the basis of
comparison with MDMA, and given that 4-MTA constitutes a small proportion of the much broader
‘ecstasy’ market, it is very unlikely that there are any significant harmful social consequences for
the user that could be attributed specifically to the use of 4-MTA.

4.1.2 Consequences for the Social Behaviour of the User

There is no evidence specifically on 4-MTA and consequences linked to disorderly conduct,
acquisitive crime or violence. However, it might be considered even more unlikely than with MDMA
that there is any important link between the use of 4-MTA and such consequences. The effect on
driving is unknown but the long duration of action of 4-MTA is a matter of concern.

4.1.3 Other Social Consequences

There is no indication that 4-MTA in particular is associated with any major value conflicts or has
any important implications for social institutions beyond those described for MDMA.

4.2 Criminological Aspects

Manufacture, trafficking and distribution of 4-MTA is unknown to the law enforcement authorities of
eleven Member States. Trafficking and distribution of 4-MTA is known in four Member States:
Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. One Member State has information
on the role of organised crime in the production, trafficking and distribution of 4-MTA.

Three Member States, Belgium, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, seized considerable
amounts of 4-MTA tablets, although these amounts were limited to single seizures only and one
Member State, Germany, seized small quantities. In two Member States, trafficking of 4-MTA was
found in combination with other illegal substances. According to some reports, this is a growing

The seizures of considerable amounts in Belgium, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands
suggest an involvement of organised crime in the production of, and trafficking in, these amounts,
although there is no further information for the time being to confirm this.


Our valuable member Richard Dennis has been with us since Monday, 20 February 2012.

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