Parents Still Naive to Adolescent Drug Use

Over the past several months, and more recently the last few weeks, there have been tragedies in our country that have sparked fear and vengeance in the hearts of Americans. The "DC Sniper" has driven some schools to close down temporarily and parents are taking precautions to protect their children from exposure. Though the death and destruction reached unfathomably new heights and receives the majority of attention through the media, there is a much more dangerous situation that still claims more lives than individual psychopaths and terrorist groups combined, and that is drug addiction. As if the use itself weren't a big enough problem, a recent survey shows that our children are doing more than we are aware of.
Survey results from the Partnership for a Drug-Free America revealed that only 1 percent of parents believe that their child may have tried the club drug ecstasy. By comparison, 12 percent of the teens surveyed claimed to have actually taken the highly toxic substance. In addition, 49 percent of the parents surveyed knew what effects the drug has on users. This clearly shows that there must be more education and awareness, not just for the adolescents that are faced with the decision to remain drug-free, but certainly for the parents and teachers as well.
Substance abuse is without question a national epidemic and is the number one societal problem, costing taxpayers roughly $143 billion annually in preventable health care costs, extra law enforcement, auto crashes, crime and lost productivity according to the latest estimates by the Department of Health and Human Services. The drugs that are used have varied throughout regions and time periods. In the past few years there has been a nationwide surge in the use of MDMA, also known as ecstasy. Though at first "X", as it is sometimes referred to, was a party drug in larger metropolitan areas, the drug has seeped its way into the rural towns of America and its pervasive harmful effects are now prevalent everywhere. Evidence of this has prompted stories in the media in on the growing ecstasy problem. One of the biggest problems with this so-called club drug is that the youth of today don't perceive the substance to be dangerous, regardless of the endless pages of scientific data clearly stating the damage that is done by ingesting this chemical compound.
MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine) is a very potent drug that combines amphetamine and a mild hallucinogen. Like many illicit drugs, ecstasy was developed and patented by a pharmaceutical company, but like so many other controlled substances was found to be extremely toxic and hazardous. Drug rehabilitation expert L. Ron Hubbard discovered that toxic substances, such as ecstasy, get lodged in the fatty tissue of a person's body and remain there for years after use ceases. The old drug residues can trigger cravings or a person's desire for more drugs at any time the person's heart rate increases and burns fatty tissue for energy, releasing the drug particles back into the blood stream. Some of the physical effects of the drug include increased heart rate, dangerously high body temperature, dehydration and involuntary jaw clenching. The number of emergency room incidents involving ecstasy has skyrocketed over the last couple of years. The most devastating effect of ecstasy is what it does to a person's mind.
A person's memory consists of pictures, or recordings, of everything that has happened in the past and included in the memory are sight, sound, smell, taste, touch and also the emotion. Ecstasy, through its psychoactive component, scrambles and alters these pictures and emotions. This makes it very difficult for the user to have any sense of reality. Ecstasy also damages a person's natural ability to feel good, so extreme depression follows the "high" and leaves the person to feel the long-term effects of the drug, which creates a feeling of wanting that high again to replace the depression. The cycle continues, taking more of the same drug to escape the condition brought on by that drug, all the while causing more damage mentally and physically. One former ecstasy user summed up the drug's effects oh him saying, "I felt so much emotional pain and was so depressed that I wanted to end my life and take all of the world's pain with me."
Perhaps the most appealing aspect of the drug for youth is the initial feeling of euphoria, but the way it's packaged and ingested makes it seem easier to take. The idea of just taking a pill with a design stamped on it makes it more attractive and appear less harmful. Additionally, popping a pill is more socially acceptable than snorting, smoking or injecting a drug. There are pro-rave groups that promote the "purity" of the drug, trying to push off the casualties and depression as misuse or impure pills, feeding more lies to the millions of users by saying its okay to take the drug. When it comes to ecstasy or any other type of drug, the truth behind the advocates is they are the ones that benefit most financially by people becoming addicted. For example, there has been a multi-billion dollar increase in prescription drug manufacturing, promotion and users.

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