Knowledge is Power: The #1 deterrent of substance abuse in teens is PARENTS!
What is Ecstasy? Ecstasy, chemically known as MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine), is a (psychoactive) stimulant hallucinogenic drug. It is usually sold in pill form ($40/per pill), but is also available in powder form. Because Ecstasy is illegal and, therefore, unregulated, it is impossible for the average user to know what is contained in a “dose.” Pills may contain varying levels of stimulants such as MDA (an amphetamine-speed) or caffeine, or anesthetics such as Ketamine or dextromethorphan. Ecstasy is produced synthetically in (mostly European) labs and smuggled to the US. There is no recognized medical use; it is a federally classified Schedule I drug.
What does Ecstasy look like? Tablets resemble to Smarties candies, coming in many colors, most imprinted with logos/headstamps of crowns, stars, birds, blue dolphins, dragons. Butterflies & Tinkerbells are international symbols for Ecstasy. Users wear T-shirts with the symbol onE, meaning “on Ecstasy.” Ecstasy also sometimes comes in geltabs.
Short term effects: The effects of Ecstasy are felt within 30-45 minutes, peaking after 60-90, and lasting 4-6 hours. The drug produces a massive serotonin (and dopamine) release, resulting in strong feelings of well-being, connectedness to others, and mild dreamy hallucinations. Increased heart rate and blood pressure can lead to seizures. The stimulant effects of the drug enable users to dance for extended periods, which often leads to severely dehydration. Users can experience hyperthermia or dramatic increases in body temperature. This further leads to muscle breakdown and kidney, liver and cardiovascular failure (death). Cardiovascular failure has been reported in some of the Ecstasy-related fatalities. After/hangover effects include sleep-problems, depression, anxiety, dullness and lethargy lasting 2 or more days. Tolerance builds after 10 uses; users “chase the magic.” Because repeat doses have stimulant but no mood effects, addictiveness level is relatively low. This is because serotonin levels take time to rebuild before they can be released again. Overdose signs include panic, vomiting, loss of consciousness, extreme overheating (can result in death), kidney failure, hyponatremia, intravascular coagulation (DIC).
Signs of use: Ecstasy users’ pupils dilate, often making them very sensitive to light. Jaw-clenching and tooth-grinding are also observable effects; users may chew gum or bite on something. Senses are heightened, and Ecstasy users often want to intensify the feeling by dancing, talking, and touching. Users often display overt signs of affection, which explains its nickname, the “hug drug.”.
Long term effects: - Repeated use of Ecstasy ultimately may damage the nerve cells that produce serotonin, which has an important role in the regulation of mood, appetite, pain, learning and memory. There already is research suggesting Ecstasy use can disrupt or interfere with memory and long-term cognitive capabilities. Driving accidents are 58% greater than non-drug users.
SLANG – “Club Drug” - Because Ecstasy is popular at Rave parties and dance clubs, enabling users to dance for long periods of time, it is called a “club drug.” Other names for Ecstasy include E, X, XTC, Adam, rolls, candy, enhancements, love drug, hug drug, vitamin E.
Rates of Use - Ecstasy is most popular among 18 to 25 year olds (used by 5% of that US population). High school/middle school data from Monitoring the Future 2009 National Survey re: Ecstasy use are as follows:
12th grade 10th grade 8th grade
% who used in last month 4.2 3.8 1.4
% seeing “great risk” in using once or twice 53 39 25
5 disapproving of using once or twice 86 76 61
% saying “fairly” or “very” easy to get 35 26 14
Sources: www.monitoringthefuture.org, www.beyondzerotolerance.org, www.drugfree.org,