Parties are the most well-known and well-loved activity of many young people. They go to disco bars, night clubs or even house parties to be with other youth, celebrate merriments, and dance the night away. Ecstasy, an illegal drug that stimulates the desire to keep on dancing and gives much joy and energy that makes a person under its influence want to hug and kiss everyone.
In a recent television news feature, an anonymous deep penetration agent from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency allegedly said that ecstasy is very popular among young people during parties and is widely used in some affluent Metro Manila bars and discos.
What is Ecstasy?
Ecstasy (also goes with the street names: Adam, E, X, XTC, Roll, Cloud 9, Disco, Love Drug, Hug Drug, Biscuit and Speed for Lovers) is a synthetic drug that is commonly sold in tablet form and imprinted with graphic designs and commercial logos. It has a main component called Methylene-dioxymethamphetamine (MDMA). MDMA is an amphetamine derivative that is structurally similar to stimulants and hallucinogens.
According to the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), MDMA was originally patented in 1914 by Merck Pharmaceu-tical Company in Germany and was rediscovered by chemist Alexander Shulgin in early 1970’s. During the late 70’s and early 80’s, MDMA was used by psychologists and therapists as a tool to treat patients with traumas, phobias and other relevant disorders because MDMA has an effect of enhanced sensations, heightened feelings of empathy, self-acceptance, better emotional aware-ness and feeling of relaxed euphoria.
But a growing number of recreational use of MDMA was reported and evidently showed a wide spread of abuse as a recreational drug on college campuses. So in 1985, MDMA was declared as a Schedule I drug by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) in the United States for concerns over potential neurological damage. Also, Great Britain seconded this move and banned MDMA in 1986 for having a high potential of abuse because reports of fatalities grew due to overdose.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) says that Ecstasy is very popular among teenagers and young adults especially those who go to discos and raves (all-night parties). These are places where Ecstasy is primarily sold and passed on to make the party-goers last the whole night partying.
Since ecstasy gives the feeling of hyperthermia (high body temperature) and dehydration, you can easily spot those who use it. Ecstasy users usually carry bottled waters, suck on lollipops or infant pacifiers (to take away the feeling of dryness in their mouth and to avoid teeth-clenching) and hold up glow sticks and handheld lights (to enhance the visual effects of ecstasy).
When taken on an empty stomach, effects start in 30 - 40 seconds and the rush can last from 15 – 30 minutes. Effects heighten in half an hour to three hours and wear off in six hours. Nonetheless, 50% of traces of Ecstasy remain in the body after six hours, 25% after 12 hours and 1% after 48 hours.
Ecstasy has short-term and long-term effects. Short-term effects are the immediate and on-the-spot effects that a user experiences several minutes after taking Ecstasy. Reports say that Ecstasy creates intense effects that give self-confidence and energy. Ecstasy also produces feelings of acceptance, closeness, empathy and desire to touch others.
Also, there are non-euphoric effects like teeth-clenching, loss of inhibitions, transfixion on sights and sounds, nausea, blurred vision, compulsive sweating, increased heart rate and blood pressure and seizures. The after-effects of the drug are sleeping problems, anxiety, depression, and fatigue.
On long-term use, Ecstasy reacts in the brain and creates memory disruption and severe permanent damage because Ecstasy interacts with the neurons that create serotonin, the one that influences the regulation of mood, appetite, aggressiveness, sensitivity to pain, tranquility, conviviality, learning and memory. Ecstasy can also cause delusions and paranoia.
The stimulant effects of the drug cause severe dehydration and hyperthermia that may possibly lead to muscle breakdown and kidney, liver and cardiovascular failure. These happen when a user dances for an extensive period of time in a hot, crowded condition and due to an overheated and dehydrated body, his temperature burns out his central nervous system and internal organs and shuts down body functions. Reports of deaths due to Ecstasy say that victims had body temperatures more than 108 degrees.
Some people say that Ecstasy makes them feel closer and more friendly towards others and it works as an aphrodisiac and gives the feeling of extreme intimacy. However, while Ecstasy enhances your sexual desire, it depletes your sexual performance. Ecstasy may block or cause difficulty in orgasm for both sexes and prevent erection for some men. Additionally, due to the effects of dehydration and heat exhaustion, both sexes can experience difficulty in lubrication.
Also, medical experts do not recommend mixing Ecstasy with alcohol because it may become deadly. Alcohol is diuretic and increases one’s urination. Mixing alcohol with Ecstasy can cause increased dehydration and loss of consciousness.
Moreover, medical experts prohibit combining Ecstasy with other drugs because of adverse effects. Reports indicate that a lot of users dangerously mix mushroom, speed, PMA (paramethoxyamphetamine), cocaine, marijuana and Viagra along with Ecstasy.