Ecstasy is known as the “club drug” since it is often used in dance clubs and music raves. Many teens believe that ecstasy is harmless and just enhances the party experience. But in fact ecstasy is dangerous and even deadly. In 2003 1 out of every 12 twelfth graders said they had tried ecstasy. 1 “A study by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America found that 9 in 10 parents know of ecstasy and see it as a danger to those who use it. Yet, parents are less likely to talk with their kids about ecstasy than any other drug.”2 Since ecstasy is a new drug many parents don’t know much about the drug or believe their child isn’t taking it. Yet since teens are using ecstasy it is important that parents talk about it.
What is ecstasy?
Ecstasy is an odorless and colorless drug that is taken orally. Ecstasy affects the central nervous system and is a stimulant related to amphetamines. It has a stimulating effect and can cause hallucinations.
What are the dangers of ecstasy?
Not much is known about the long-term effects of ecstasy use upon the central nervous system since it has only been in use since the 1990’s. Currently studies are being done. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse ecstasy damages nerve endings related to critical thought and memory. It also impairs the brains ability to make serotonin, a chemical that regulates mood, memory, sleep, and appetite.
Ecstasy users do not know exactly how much of the drug they are taking since pills can vary in potency. They might also be mixed with other harmful drugs. Ecstasy is often slipped into drinks at clubs causing the unaware user to become a victim of sexual assault. “Stacking” or taking multiple doses can lead to seizure, heart attack, or even death.
What are the signs of ecstasy use?
• Increased heart rate and blood pressure
• Extremely alert
• Teeth grinding – ecstasy causes tension in the jaw
• Mood swings – a person often feels depressed after taking the drug
• Slurred speech
• Poor short-term memory and inability to focus
• Sweating or Hypothermia (cold) – inability to control body temperature
• Decrease in academic performance
• Agitation (excessive agitation is a serious sign)
• Dry mouth – excessively thirsty
Written by Teresa McEntire