How a single pill wields tremendous power

 

This single pill has tremendous power. It makes criminals rich, gets kids high, forces Australia's Federal and State governments to spend billions fighting crime, on healthcare and drug prevention. It also kills young Australians.

Party drugs such as MDMA and ecstasy come in all shapes and sizes including this ominous pink skull
Party drugs such as MDMA and ecstasy come in all shapes and sizes including this ominous pink skull

The ripples caused by this single pill are felt all around the world from Chinese chemical factories, drug cooks in the Netherlands, drug-dealing crime lords in Australia, high level dealers and low-level pushers to a friend handing it to another in the moshpit of a music festival.

Those ripples can also turn into a tidal wave of grief for the family and friends of a young person who dies from an overdose - with their whole life ahead of them - only to leave their parents utterly devastated and grief-stricken.

This is The Ripple Effect, a special multimedia report into the world of illicit drugs and the impact on all of those who come into contact with them.

It publishes tomorrow in all NewsCorp Australia mastheads and websites.

It is confronting, challenging, raw and emotional. It presents the facts and the impacts.

It will at times make you uncomfortable, anxious or angry but importantly The Ripple Effect is also about education ahead of a long, hot summer of music festivals across right across Australia. The Ripple Effect video series is essential viewing for teens and adults.

Young adults jam into the moshpit at Townsville’s Groovin the Moo. Picture: Evan Morgan
Young adults jam into the moshpit at Townsville’s Groovin the Moo. Picture: Evan Morgan

Every decision a young person makes leading up to putting a pill in their mouth or in the first few, crucial minutes of a friend suffering an overdose could be the difference between life and death.

This investigation busts myths, offers advice and essential information for young people. It also explains the worldwide impact they have of buying just a single pill.

The Ripple Effect examines the origins of drugs such as MDMA, retracing its journey from the palm of the hand of young person at a music festival all the way back to where the chemicals to cook them slosh around in a barrel in China.

Three people were arrested when 496kg of MDMA was seized in joint AFP and Border Force operation in Sydney. Picture: AFP
Three people were arrested when 496kg of MDMA was seized in joint AFP and Border Force operation in Sydney. Picture: AFP

But this is more than an expose on drugs, The Ripple Effect explores the unabiding ripples of sorrow and heartbreak that every day wash over the families of those who have died from overdoses and the message they have for young people thinking about popping a few "harmless" pills for a bit of fun.

MDMA and drugs like it are illegal. Young people are taking extreme risks with their futures to smuggle them into music festivals - and some are paying for it with their lives.

The choices they make in that moment, in that time, can cause ripples that last a lifetime.

If you or your kids, friends or family end up with a pill in their palm over summer, it is essential reading, watching and listening - starting tomorrow.

Medical staff and police keep a close on eye on the crowd at the Rainbow Serpent Festival.
Medical staff and police keep a close on eye on the crowd at the Rainbow Serpent Festival.
AFP and Border Force discovered 496kg of MDMA inside this machinery. Tonnes of MDNA is seized every year. Picture: AFP
AFP and Border Force discovered 496kg of MDMA inside this machinery. Tonnes of MDNA is seized every year. Picture: AFP
Emergency services help a distressed young man at the Rainbow Serpent Festival.
Emergency services help a distressed young man at the Rainbow Serpent Festival.
Fomo Music Festival attendees are greeted by a heavy police presence, including sniffer dogs, searching for party pills and other illegal drugs. Picture: David Swift.
Fomo Music Festival attendees are greeted by a heavy police presence, including sniffer dogs, searching for party pills and other illegal drugs. Picture: David Swift.