Ecstasy – an illegal drug often referred to as this decade’s version of LSD – is, according to some of its users “the hottest drug going now.” It’s also one of the deadliest. While Ecstasy is most often associated with large open-to-the-public teen dance parties – or “raves” – federal officials say the drug also known as MDMA (and most commonly called “X” on the street) is so readily available that teens can easily buy it on the street or even on their school’s campus.
A so-called “club drug,” ecstasy continues to be used by millions of Americans across the country despite growing evidence of its potential harmful effects. For some reason, in fact, it has gained a deceptive reputation as a “safe” drug among users. This illegal drug, which has both stimulant and psychedelic properties, is often taken for the feelings of well-being, stimulation, as well as the distortions in time and sensory perceptions that it produces. MDMA first became popular in the “rave” and all-night party scene, but its use has now spread to a wide range of settings and demographic subgroups.
A recent survey of teens conducted by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse found that one in four questioned said they had a friend or class mate whom they knew had used Ecstasy, and 17% said they knew more than one user.
Some of the slang terms for Ecstasy include:
- Disco biscuit
- Hug Drug
- Love drug
- Scooby snacks
Adding to the already existing dangerous potential of Ecstasy is the fact that, increasingly, other drugs altogether are being passed off as Ecstasy and that Ecstasy pills are sold heavily laced with other dangerous drugs such as PCP.
“When somebody tells me they’ve taken Ecstasy these days, I have no idea what they’ve taken,” says Dr. Grob, director of child and adolescent psychiatry at the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, California. Grob, who conducted the first Food and Drug Administration-approved study of MDMA’s effects in the mid-90’s, says the growing furor surrounding the illegal use and abuse of the drug has overshadowed its potential as a legitimate, professionally monitored psychiatric treatment for such ailments as posttraumatic stress disorder.
Some of the Facts About Ecstasy
When most people refer to Ecstasy they are usually referring to 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, or MDMA. Patented in Germany before World War I, MDMA was not tested on humans until the 70’s. Chemically, it’s structurally similar to both amphetamine and mescaline, a hallucinogen.
In 1985, the Drug Enforcement Administration ordered that MDMA be classified as an illegal drug. However, that did little to stop its spread on the black market. By the mid-90’s, Ecstasy had become a popular “club drug” in Europe, the U.S., and other parts of the world.
A dangerous trend has become pervasive and often proves fatal: In attempts to prolong the effects of the drug and enhance the “I love everyone” feelings, “stacking”–using multiple doses in one night–or combining Ecstasy with alcohol or other drugs is becoming increasingly widespread.
Medical experts are also alarmed by commonly used impure forms of Ecstasy (laced with other drugs), as well as look-alike pills. Other critical concerns include the drug’s capacity to accelerate dehydration and overheating, which, especially at crowded dance clubs, has been the cause of death in some cases.
If you or someone you care about is using Ecstasy, consider getting immediate and confidentia lhelp from your doctor or local therapist.