Ecstasy / MDMA / Molly

Myths abound about the short-term and long-term consequences of use of MDMA, often called Ecstasy. MDMA is not new to the scientific community. Over 15 years of research conducted on animals has proven that MDMA damages specific neurons in the brain. Because of the difficulties of conducting similar research in humans, conclusive evidence of neurotoxicity in humans has not yet been established. However, a variety of studies have shown that some chronic, heavy users of MDMA have cognitive deficits.

MDMA (3,4-METHYLENEDIOXYMETHAMPHETAMINE) is a synthetic drug with both stimulant and hallucinogenic qualities. MDMA is sometimes referred to as a “designer drug.” A designer drug is one that is either a copycat of another drug (a variation of it) or a synthetic compound of two or more drugs. MDMA is the later—Its chemical structure is similar to methamphetamine, methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA), and mescaline. MDMA use had been on the decline, but recent studies show that use of the drug is on the rise again.

The drug, once popular within the rave culture and in dance clubs, has now become widely available. Known as the “hug drug” or “feel good” drug, it reduces inhibitions, eliminates anxiety, and produces feelings of empathy for others. In addition to chemical stimulation, the drug reportedly suppresses the need to eat, drink, or sleep. This enables club scene users to endure all-night and sometime 2- to-3 day parties.

An alarming trend surfacing now is the number of polydrug users. Many users will, in combination with Ecstasy, knowingly use alcohol, methamphetamine, ketamine, marijuana, DXM, psilocybin mushrooms, LSD, GHB and cocaine. The expression “Flipping” is street jargon that refers to the use of other drugs with Ecstasy.

The degree of harm from the use of these chemical drugs is not fully known at this time. Further scientific research is required. Experts in the field of addiction fear the worst, and state that over time, neurotoxicity, psychopathological disorders or brain damage can result from the use of Ecstasy or other similar chemical drugs. Although the most serious consequence is an overdose resulting in death, there are other significant issues related to even the occasional use of these drugs.

Other recognized concerns are driving while under the influence, sexual assault and/or unsafe sex (resulting in unwanted pregnancies or sexually transmitted infections), not to mention the future negative effects of drug use. Long-term usage of Ecstasy has been linked to serotonin depletion, which in turn has been linked to depression and suicide. The real danger of these designer chemical drugs is that users feel that these drugs are safe and benign and that they are in control. Even with occasional or weekend use, users may become addicted psychologically and will experience the related negative effects.

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