BASIC FACTS ABOUT ECSTASY
What is Ecstasy?
Ecstasy is one of the most dangerous drugs threatening young
people today. Called MDMA (3-4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine) by scientists, it
is a synthetic chemical that can be derived from an essential oil of the
sassafras tree. MDMA is also one of the easiest illegal drugs to obtain. Its
effects are similar to those of amphetamines and hallucinogens. Distributed
almost anywhere, it has become very popular at social events like raves, hip hop
parties, concerts, etc. frequented by both adults and youth.While not all
“event” attendees use Ecstasy, the drug often makes the circuit of these parties
and can set up dangerous circumstances that can affect everyone there.
Street Names: E, Adam, Roll,
Bean, X and XTC,
Clarity, Essence, Stacy, Lover’s
Form: Pills – usually white,
yellow or brown
Size, shape and design vary
Pills are often branded with
Legal or Not?
First developed as an appetite suppressant in 1914, MDMA was
used as a psychotherapeutic tool and also started to become available on the
street In the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. It wasn’t until 1985 that Ecstasy was
made illegal. It is classified as a “Schedule 1” controlled substance along with
other narcotics like heroin, cocaine, and LSD. Penalties for possession,
delivery, and manufacturing of the drug can include fines as high as $100,000
and up to 99 years or life in prison, depending on the amount seized.
One reason Ecstasy can be especially dangerous is the lack of
content control. Ingredients are hard to get and manufacturers of the drug often
use substitutes, mixing other harmful additives with the already dangerous mix.
This practice is so common that “drug test kits” are often sold with the drug so
users can test for purity. Because of the uncertainties about the drug sources,
pharmacological agents, chemicals used to manufacture them, and possible
contaminants, it is difficult to measure the toxicity, consequences and symptoms
that might be expected.
How is it Used?
Ecstasy is usually taken in pill form and swallowed and it can
also be injected Some users have been known to crush and snort the resulting
powder. Others insert the pill into the anus where it is absorbed. This process
is known as “shafting.”
How Does It Affect You?
Ecstasy is similar (in nature) to other amphetamines and
hallucinogens. It speeds up the nervous system and acts as a mood enhancer. Also
referred to as “the love drug”, Ecstasy often makes the user feel good, happy
and relaxed – at least at first. Contrary to rumors, Ecstasy is not an
aphrodisiac and can actually inhibit sexual performance.
The taking of any drug affects people differently. Depending on
size, weight, health, dosage and other drugs being used, the reaction can be
mild or very severe. Anyone suffering from hypertension, heart disease,
diabetes, epilepsy, mental illness or panic should avoid taking Ecstasy.
Common Side Effects
The following effects start within 20 minutes of taking E and
can last for 4 – 6 hours or longer:
Other Reported Effects:
Taking higher doses of MDMA will not increase the good feelings.
In fact higher dosages can cause convulsions, irrational behavior, and
hallucinations. Users have reported having problems with insomnia, anxiety,
paranoia, concentration and depression after taking the drug.
Taking too much Ecstasy can result in:
Death often results from harmful overheating
or from drinking too much at one time (hyponatremia).
Hyponatremia is a condition where excess fluid intake swells the brain resulting
in coma. A third cause of death is
stimulation. Over stimulation of the
nervous system can result in heart attack or brain hemorrhage.
Warning Signs of Overdose
Feeling hot or unwell
Becoming confused, not able to
Racing heart or pulse when
Fainting or collapsing
Loss of control over body
Duration of Effects:
An Ecstasy high can last from six to 24 hours but usually
averages three to four hours. Some reactions have been reported to persist from
one to 14 days after use.
Short Term Effects
Short-term effects include psychological difficulties
(confusion, depression, sleep problems, craving, severe anxiety, and paranoia).
These effects occur during use and can continue even weeks after use.
Physical problems that can occur are muscle tension, involuntary
teeth clenching, nausea, blurred vision, rapid eye movement, fever, chills or
Long Term Effects
Recent findings connect use of Ecstasy to memory loss. Use of
Ecstasy depletes serotonin,
a very important chemical in the brain which regulates mood, sleeping and eating
habits, as well as, the thinking and behavior process, sexual function, and
sensitivity to pain.
Herbal Ecstasy is another form of MDMA that is composed of
ephedrine (ma huang) or pseudoephedrine and caffeine from the kola nut. Also
sold in tablet form, Herbal Ecstasy can cause permanent brain damage and death.
Though not currently classified as a controlled substance, Herbal Ecstasy shares
many of the same qualities and effects as MDMA. Also known as Cloud 9, Herbal
Bliss, Ritual Spirit, Herbal X, GWM, Rave Energy, Ultimate Xphoria and X.
Ecstasy can be detected up to four days in the urine.
Ecstasy and Anti-Depressants
People currently taking an MAOI should not use Ecstasy. MAOIs
are most commonly found in prescription anti-depressants Nardil (phenelzine),
Parnete (tranylcypromine), Marplan (isocarboxazid), Eldepryl (I-deprenyl), and
Aurorex or Manerix (moclobermide). The same is true of the protease inhibitor
Ecstasy and Pregnancy
In a study published in the May 1, 2001 issue of the Journal of
Neuroscience, results showed that exposure (of rats) to Ecstasy caused memory
and learning deficiencies to the unborn rat. As with all other drugs (legal or
not), they should never be taken during pregnancy unless specifically prescribed
by a medical professional.
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