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Teenagers Get Hooked To Ecstasy

by Medindia Content Team on April 2, 2006 at 6:06 PM
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Teenagers Get Hooked To Ecstasy

Michael Evans, 17 died after taking 13 ecstasy pills to impress his friends at a pub. He was there to celebrate a friend's birthday. One hour later Michael suffered from mild epilepsy at his pal's place. He started to get hot before suffering a massive heart attack. His friends tried to revive him but in vain. He was taken to the hospital but he died after several hours of treatment. The young boy really did not understand what he was doing when he took these tablets. Ecstasy is a common name for the drug MDMA (3-4 methylenedioxymethamphetamine). It is a synthetic, psychoactive drug which has the ability to induce hallucination. In 2003, an estimated 470,000 people in the U.S. age 12 and older used MDMA. It exerts its primary effects in the brain on neurons that use the chemical serotonin to communicate with other neurons. The serotonin system plays an important role in regulating mood, aggression, sexual activity, sleep, and sensitivity to pain.

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In high doses, it can interfere with the body's ability to regulate temperature. This can lead to a sharp increase in body temperature (hyperthermia), resulting in liver, kidney, and cardiovascular system failure. Animal research studies indicate it is not a safe drug for human consumption. The combination of MDMA with other drugs and substances like marijuana and alcohol can increase and thereby put oneself at further physical risk.

The Community Epidemiology Work Group (CEWG) members monitor drug use data sources for 21 metropolitan areas nationwide. They reported an increased use of the drug among African-American and Hispanic populations. The highest numbers of MDMA users were in Philadelphia, Los Angeles, New York, Miami, San Francisco, Atlanta, Boston, and Detroit. It is usually taken orally in tablet, capsule or powder form, but it can also be injected with a syringe. The substance peaks between 60 -90 minutes after taking it and generally lasts for 3-6 hours. Effects from the drug can linger up to 14 days.
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MDMA's low street price from $15-$40 per pill, further adds to its appeal. Its use among children has increased especially it is widespread among white adolescents in the northeastern states. Drug marketers target kids with New Age philosophies and seemingly positive messages. But the kids fail to understand that the positive messages are clearly nothing more than a marketing ploy.

MDMA suppresses the need to eat, sleep, or drink and, consequently, allows users to stay awake all night. These qualities make it appealing for teenagers and young professionals. The main reason being that it helps them to stay awake for longer and working later which they assume would boost their careers. But on the other hand they are jeopardizing their health and employment prospects by use of this illegal drug. Moreover, MDMA use can result in mental confusion, anxiety and panic attacks, depression, paranoia and significant impairments in visual and verbal memory affecting other cognitive functions, such as the ability to reason or sustain attention. Hence it is essential that as adults we have to strive to give kids the information and support they need to stay drug-free.

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