Ecstasy, also known as MDMA (or 3, 4 methylene-dioxymethamphetamine), is a manmade psychoactive substance that is very similar to methamphetamine and hallucinogen mescaline in terms of its chemical composition.
Ecstasy is very popular among teenagers and young adults for its ‘feel good’ effects such as euphoria, increased energy, emotional warmth and sensory hallucinations.
Ecstasy Abuse Statistics
Ecstasy is also popularly known to many through its street names XTC, Clarity, Adam, Cloud 9, Kleenex, MDM, Love Trip, Ultimate Xphoria, Beans, Lover’s Speed, Love Drug and Hug.
Ecstasy was initially introduced in the United States during the year 1960s as a prescription drug that in treating a variety of psychological disorders. Merck Pharmaceuticals manufactured ecstasy for its appetite suppression and other weight loss effects. However, instead of using it as a treatment for many disorders, ecstasy aggravated the condition of many patients and was then abandoned thereafter. Ecstasy was left untouched for years until it was tested on monkeys, rats and dogs in the year 1953. The substance wasn’t really meant for consumer distribution and usage.
Ecstasy’s chemical partner, MDA was already used in treating psychiatric symptoms in the year 1960s to the 1970s. It didn’t quite gain as much as popularity as ecstasy did. In the 1980s, ecstasy has been popularized because of its psychedelic effects and is continually being illegally used for this purpose these days. Ecstasy was already a well known street drug during that decade. In the year 1984, MDMA was then classified as a Schedule 1 drug and the possession, distribution or intake of ecstasy is deemed punishable by law. Before the 1984 decision, there are still several mental health doctors who believe that the drug can still be used as a practical psychiatric treatment but the idea was abandoned by the scientific community.
The 1990s brought about the explosion of MDMA use. Ecstasy turned into a ‘club favorite’ and it spearheaded a new trend in drug abuse, the designer drugs. Ecstasy was then becoming popular as an underground club that goes with new music genres, subculture, and the use of adult pacifiers.
Nowadays, ecstasy is the number 1 club drug abused by many college students. Statistics have showed that more than 6.4 million adults aged 12 and above have used MDMA at least once in the year 2000 alone. Reports have shown that around 1.5 % of Americans have used ecstasy at least one time in their lives and the heaviest users are those between the age group of 18 to 25 years old. There are also studies showing that people who have used the substance 25 times had developed decreasing levels of serotonin in their system even after a year of abstinence.
Effects on the Body
MDMA is a potentially dangerous drug in the human body. Ecstasy, just like any other stimulant, can increase an individual’s blood pressure and heart rate which is harmful for people with cardiovascular diseases. Some of the drug’s adverse effects include nausea, blurred vision, muscle tension, chill, sweating, and teeth clenching. If taken in high doses, ecstasy can alter body temperature functioning specifically hypothermia. Hypothermia can in turn result to kidney, liver or heart failure which ultimately leads to death.
Based on the National Survey done by the SAMHSA (Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration), there are about 24 million individuals who need treatment for drug addiction. Of the total number, only 2.5 million undergo ecstasy rehab programs at treatment facilities.
Most of teenage drug addiction problems are usually caused by cocaine, marijuana and ecstasy.
The recent drug rehab statistics pose an alarming issue in the country. Many parents and families are faced with the challenge of maintaining a sober society. This is indeed an issue that the federal government should not ignore.