Teen Ecstasy Use Down, But More Education and Awareness Needed

UNITED STATES - Ecstasy use among teenagers had been sharply increasing since '98, peaking at over 9% (for 12th graders) of those surveyed according to the Monitoring the Future Study by the University of Michigan (http://monitoringthefuture.org/ ). The number of teens using the drug had actually doubled in two years. This past year, however, a dramatic decrease was found by the same survey for 2002. One reason for this is the general education that wipes out the myths of ecstasy use by drug prevention programs, causing the perception of danger to increase. On the downside, it also took many teens witnessing the effects produced by the drug in their friends to help them make the choice not to try it.
Though national trends suggest a victory of sorts, it certainly doesn't mean it's time to let up on the anti-drug campaigns. In fact, more rural and Midwestern areas are just now seeing the increase in ecstasy use that the rest of the country saw a few years ago. For example, in the south-central portion of the U.S., Texas reports that ecstasy is now used more than cocaine by teens in that state and overall use has nearly doubled since 2000.
MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine) is a very potent drug that combines amphetamine and a mild hallucinogen. Ecstasy isn't a new drug, as it was developed and patented before 1920, but like so many other controlled substances was found to be extremely toxic and hazardous and was finally made illegal in 1985. 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 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 by 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." This is hardly indicative of the drug's name, but it is the reality of the feeling it produces once the 'high' wears off.

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