How much time should elapse between taking MDMA and donating blood?
Some days ago I went to donate blood in my local community center (they do this several times a year). However, when I said I had used MDMA two weeks earlier, they told me they could NOT use my blood.
Does this make any sense to you?
It was this really old fashioned looking rectal-exam type head nurse who looked «not amused», so it could very well be prejudice on her part. Should I simply not mention it next time?
No, it doesn´t make any sense at all.
The time and speed it takes for a given substance to be eliminated from the body depends on factors related to pharmacology.
And the most important of these is the «elimination half-life»: the time it takes for the body to eliminate half of the drug (t1/2). The t1/2 for MDMA is 9 hours.
100% of a drug is eliminated between 7 and 10 elimination half-lives.
For instance, the t1/2 for MDMA is 9 hours: and 100% of the drug is eliminated between 7 and 10 elimination half-lives, which is between 63 and 90 hours after use.
Two weeks after use, not a single molecule of the dose consumed will remain.
The WHO Clinical Guideline on Donation recommends that people with a history of intravenous drug use should not donate blood. This is a reasonable precautionary principle (possibility of undetected blood-borne viruses).
Regarding recreational drug use, the guideline states:
«There is no documented evidence that a donor’s recent ingestion of a «recreational» drug or alcohol has caused harm to the recipient of his or her blood. As in the case of prescribed medication,(…) the recipient of the blood receives a very small residual amount,. This is unlikely to have any adverse effects».
And it only recommends discarding the donor in the case of obvious signs of intoxication at the time of donation, which also seems reasonable
Rejecting a blood donor solely on the basis of having consumed MDMA two weeks earlier is not justified on clinical grounds.
So, in a nutshell,
- Rejecting a blood donor solely on the basis of having consumed MDMA two weeks earlier is not justified on clinical grounds.
- Whether the nurse looks old-fashioned, dull, or has a face like the one you describe is not very important. That is all her problem. What is serious is the ignorance and prejudice that many health workers have towards drug users.
- Technically, I can’t recommend «don’t say anything» next time. If a health professional refuses your blood donation, you have the right to request a written explanation based on official guidelines. You could submit a written complaint to the hospital. And you could provide the documentation attached to this post.
- Donating blood is an act of generosity. while you have the right to follow up on any mistreatment, you are not required to make extraordinary efforts.