Saying No

Just the Facts, Jack:
The Truth About Ecstasy
It's an unfortunate truth that just as in the fashion and entertainment industries, drugs and drug users are subject to fads. One of the most frightening trends in drug use is the synthetic chemical Ecstasy, a favorite at parties, concerts and social events.

Ecstasy originally was developed as an appetite suppressant. Usually taken in pill form, its scientific name is MDMA, or 3-4-Methylenedioxymeth-amphetamine, and its effects are similar to those of amphetamines and hallucinogens.

Commonly referred to as the "love drug," Ecstasy typically makes the user feel happy and relaxed. (Ironically, it usually inhibits sexual performance.) It's classified as a "schedule 1" controlled substance, putting it in the company of drugs such as heroin, cocaine and LSD.

One of Ecstasy's particular dangers is its lack of a consistent content. Ingredients can be difficult to obtain; therefore manufacturers often substitute, mixing harmful additives with the already dangerous chemicals. It's impossible for the users to know just how strong -- or toxic -- the dose they purchase may be.

Following are some warning signs of Ecstasy overdose:
Extremely high body temperature
Extremely high blood pressure
Confusion and/or hallucinations
Rapid heartbeat/racing pulse when resting
Breathing problems
Fainting or collapse
Loss of control over body movements
Problems urinating

Death from Ecstasy abuse often results from dangerous overheating (hyperthermia) or from drinking too much liquid, which in turn causes swelling in the brain and coma.

Finally, over-stimulation of the nervous system can result in heart attack or brain hemorrhage in some individuals.

© Your HealthStyle, 2002.