Ecstasy Addiction – The Killer’s On The Loose
Ecstasy addiction is a serious issue in the US and Canada today. MDMA, or “ecstasy”, is a “club drug” used primarily at all-night dance parties or “raves”. It comes in tablet or capsule form. Tablets are identified by size, shape, color and imprinted design depending on their source. It will typically be identified by street names such as “Blue Mitsubishi” and “Purple Buddha” and will be imprinted with an identifiable marking and matching color. Because there is no controlled production, the colors and the markings vary and there may be hundreds of varieties of colors, shapes and markings.
It is made up of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine. It is known on the street as ecstasy, Ecky ,X, E, sex, XTC, candy canes, Adam, Bicky, doves, eckie, essence, disco biscuit, hug drug, M&M, love drug, yaoto-wang, rolls, molly and white doves.
It is most often available in tablet form and is usually ingested orally, although some users have reported taking it anally. It is also available in powder form, often contained in gel tabs and is sometimes snorted and occasionally smoked. The principle method of use is oral ingestion.
This drug is a central nervous system stimulant with hallucinogenic and psychedelic effects, an appetite suppressant and an empathogen. It is currently a Schedule I drug and is a derivative of methamphetamine with characteristics of mescaline. It is chemically similar to mescaline, the result of which is hallucinations, visions and euphoria.
There is no current known medical use. It was originally patented as an appetite suppressant but has never been produced or sold commercially. It is a “club drug” used for all-night social gatherings, often referred to as a “rave”, where rhythmic music is played for hours and users dance and touch each other. This substance produces a euphoric state of heightened physical, emotional and sexual feelings along with a state of intense well-being, along with increased energy and stamina.
The pills may contain other drugs; some pills marketed as XTC may not contain any MDMA. Other “club drugs” such as MDA, PMA, Ketamine, PCP, and DXM are included in what may be called MDMA, while some pills are cut with ephedrine, pseudo ephedrine, and caffeine. Some tablets have been reported to contain LSD or heroin. When users purchase their drug, there is no way to ensure quality or consistency. Users are playing Russian roulette with their lives.
There are no controls or standards. Dosage is usually one to two tablets for a night’s usage at dosage levels between 10–150 mg of the substance. User surveys report a range of doses between 50-700 mg in a session, with an average of 120 mg. Most common pattern of use is binge consumption at all night rave or dance parties. It is frequently taken with other recreational drugs such as ethanol, marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, nitrous oxide, and GHB.
This substance is a strong central nervous system stimulant that causes a powerful and rapid release of neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine and noradrelaline. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter in the brain that is responsible for pleasure, sleep, heart rate and moods. Dopamine is also a neurotransmitter that is responsible for pleasure-seeking activities and feelings. Noradrenaline is responsible for an energy-feeling effect similar to the effect from amphetamines. The substance does not actually produce neurotransmitters, but it does block the re-uptake of neurotransmitters in the brain, thereby causing excessive amounts of the chemicals to be present in the brain. It floods the brain primarily with serotonin and to a lesser degree with dopamine, causing feelings of euphoria, empathy and heightened sensual pleasure. When the substance wears off, the brain is depleted of dopamine and serotonin and the user is left with feelings of depression, sadness and unhappiness, the opposite effects of the drug itself.
The drug is taken orally and is absorbed quickly in the intestinal track. Effects start 20 minutes after ingestion and reach peak effect within 2 hours. The desired effect of the substance lasts up to 8 hours. Elimination of the drug is renal and it can take up to 40 hours for the drug to be cleared from the body.
It causes exhilaration, joy, happiness, increased physical sensations, increased sexual sensations, hallucinations, relaxation, muscle tension, empathy for others, emotional warmth, anxiety, nausea, heat exhaustion, increased body temperature up to 108 degrees, increased blood pressure, increased breathing rate and heart rate, faintness, chills or sweating and decreased appetite.
Effects of the drug diminish after 8 hours but common after-effects are sadness, depression and general malaise. The after-effect of is confusion, anxiety, depression, nervousness, inattention, sleep disruption and general malaise. Deaths from MDMA have been reported, usually as a result of heatstroke from dancing for long periods of time without replenishing lost body fluids. Dehydration and heat exhaustion are the two biggest dangers when under the influence of MDMA.
Other long-term effects, or possibly permanent effects, and risks are confusion, depression, sleep problems, drug craving, severe anxiety, paranoia, depletion of serotonin and memory functions, impaired decision making, panic attacks, greater impulsivity, lack of self control, hallucinations, delusions, psychotic episodes, muscle aches and teeth grinding. Withdrawal symptoms include memory problems, motivational problems, dehydration, depression, anxiety, sadness, fatigue, loss of appetite and trouble concentrating.
This may not be addictive as defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or the International Statistical Classification of Diseases, however users will crave for the drug and will continue to use it despite knowing the potential side effects and negative long-term effects. Because it is a “club drug” it is typically not used on a daily basis but is instead used in social settings, usually on weekends.
Long-term users exhibit symptoms similar to attention deficit disorder, inattention, confusion and general uneasiness. Recent studies indicate that long term use of the substance may decrease serotonin levels in the brain by up to 60%. Recovery from it is slow and similar in nature to recovery from methamphetamine, the drug from which MDMA is derived.
Abuse and its medical consequences among young adults and teenagers are on the rise. There has been a significant rise in visits to emergency room, as reported by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Emergency room visits have increased by 74.8% in four years, from 10,222 (2004) to 17,865 (2008). Read more about Ecstasy Addiction
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) also reported that 69.3% of such emergency room visits were made by users between 18 to 29 years old, while 17.9% of them were made by clients between 12 to 17 years old. Among the deleterious effects of the drug are hypertension, dehydration, heat stroke, muscle cramping, blurred vision, heart failure, and kidney failure, recklessness and anxiety.
Help is within reach. If you or a loved one is serious about ending your ecstasy addiction call Hawaii Island Recovery at 866-515-5032.