Health Problems from Ecstasy Use Related to Emergency Room Visit Spike

Health Problems from Ecstasy Use Related to Emergency Room Visit Spike

In stark contrast to its deceiving name, Ecstasy is sending more and more people suffering from serious or fatal health problems to emergency rooms across the country. News from the Los Angeles Times addresses the jump in emergency room visits related to Ecstasy, or MDMA, a popular street drug. During a four-year span from 2004 to 2008, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration said that emergency room activity connected to use of the drug rose by 75 percent. By the numbers, this is a jump of 10,220 visits to nearly 18,000 in just four years.

Well over two-thirds of the Ecstasy-related E.R. visits were by people in their late teens and twenties, from ages 18 to age 29. Even more alarming is the fact that about 18 percent of the visits were children from age 12 to age 17.

Though information tracking E.R. visits related to Ecstasy is fairly new, the drug itself isn’t new. Ecstasy is a Schedule I controlled substance and a synthetic stimulant compared to amphetamine. The drug, in production for more than a century, causes some users to experience a short-term elevated sense of self-confidence or overall well-being, and is often used at all night dance parties.
Ecstasy also causes nausea, vision changes, increased heart rate and excessive sweating. Because the drug has stimulant qualities and is often used in packed, overheated settings, some users have died or become severely dehydrated while using it. Over time, it is believed Ecstasy can negatively impact a person’s ability to regulate their mood and their memory.

Research from the National Institute on Drug Abuse shows a decline in high-school age use of Ecstasy during the past nine years. However, findings also indicate many teens may not view infrequent use of the drug as harmful to their health, suggesting that more efforts to warn teens of the serious health consequences of Ecstasy are needed.

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