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Ecstasy is a narcotic that has been dangerously increasingly in popularity over the last several years. It is talked about openly nowadays, even being referred to in much of today’s music as its most common nickname ‘Molly’. Whether at a rave, music festival, party, even a run-of-the-mill bar, chances are Molly is being passed around, attracting typical young adults with the infamous euphoria of said “love drug”. Molly’s prevalence continues to widen, with almost 6 percent of Americans having reported using it at least once in their life.

The Ecstasy ‘High’

The high that Ecstasy gives is said to be a euphoria that increases energy and triggers intense feelings of empathy for others. It supposedly heightens perceptions like touch, and enhances sexuality, which normally leads to risky sexual activity. It is popular in nightlife environments because it can give you enough energy to stay up almost all night.

Crashing on “X”

This drug has a pretty vile crash, or “low”, from the high. The user experiencing the crash can become extremely depressed and exhausted, yet can also experience insomnia.

They can also experience restlessness and irritability. The low has been described as feeling as if “the life is sucked out” of them. This can last up to a few days, though it all depends on how the person responds to the drug as well as how much they took. There have been cases reported where the depression from this crash got so bad that the user ended up going to a psychiatrist or other health professional for their issues.

Side Effects of Ecstasy Use

The side effects from ecstasy are so severe; feeling like you are the “life of the party” for one night does not counteract the detrimental effects of the drug. Long-term side effects are being reported by doctors all over the country. If an individual took it just once, they could still be experiencing the intense side effect even months later.

These effects are:

  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Memory loss or impairment
  • Loss of appetite
  • Cognitive impairment.

Depending on the severity of the person’s ecstasy habit, sometimes other health situations can rise up such as kidney failure, psychosis, convulsions, cardiovascular collapse and hemorrhaging.

Ecstasy Use & Brain Damage

It should be underscored that ecstasy can cause long-lasting, even permanent brain damage. How does this happen exactly? Well, the primary thing that is responsible for the user’s high on ecstasy is the increase in activity of three particular brain neurotransmitters. These are serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. Serotonin’s role is to regulate mood, sleep, and appetite. The abundant release of serotonin is what causes the mood elevation the high provides. Dopamine’s role is responsible for your emotions, movements and sensations of pleasure.

This contributes to that mood elevation serotonin creates, but is mainly probably what causes the “empathy for others” feeling as well as sexual response. Norepinephrine’s role affects the body’s response to stress, having an impact on the fight or flight response, which is probably what contributes to all that energy the drug has to offer. The release of these in the brain is comparable to methamphetamine.

Ecstasy Use Dangers

The correlation between these specific neurotransmitter’s roles for the body and the long-term negative effects, such as loss of appetite and depression, are obvious. The thankless experience and consequences that result from doing ecstasy should be more widely known. People regard it as something safer than other street drugs just because pop culture has portrayed using the drug as something that is common among many demographics of people and is promoted as providing a fun experience.

However, ecstasy remains one of the most dangerous street drugs there is today for several different reasons. The danger potential in taking ecstasy can sometimes go so far as death. Many of the environments in which ecstasy is normally taken, can create additional detrimental effects. Environments like night clubs or music festivals with large crowds of people dancing, create high temperatures which can be difficult for some people to function in normally.

Take into consideration the dehydration that occurs with a drug like this (where the user will forget to drink or eat for a long period of time) and an environment which obviously is not conducive to staying properly hydrated. Adding ecstasy, a drug that increases your heart rate and temperature, could be a recipe for hyperthermia. Hyperthermia, in this case, can cause seizures or even death. The number of visits to the ER which are related to ecstasy has been on a general uptrend especially since the early 2000’s.

What’s Precisely in a “Bad Batch” of Ecstasy

It has been reported that cocaine can be used in batches of ecstasy as well. How exactly could this have happened? The dealers and manufacturers of this drug aren’t always exactly in it for the art of drug-making. Profit is the main reason why anyone makes and sells drugs to begin with, and what better way to increase the profit of something than to cut it with a litany of other uppers or fillers in order to thicken the volume of said product? There have been quite a few harmful substances found in general batches of ecstasy. Sometimes it has been rat poison, caffeine, LSD, methamphetamine, ketamine, heroin or a combination of all of these.

These lethal combinations appear far too often, yet the general party goer doesn’t approach the drug with the proper consideration or hesitation. The general public seems to think it’s “not that big a deal” to take these pills, even referring to the habit as “going down the rabbit hole” strictly in humorous terms. “Rolling” is the term for being high on ecstasy, though sometimes it is also used to refer to ecstasy along with a pretty long list of other nicknames. These nicknames and terms, including Molly, seem to only add to the growing nonchalant attitude regarding something with a string of potential dangers. The ecstasy problem is an alarming one, worthy of attention, with approximately 43 percent of people who reported doing ecstasy per a survey by the NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse) being addicted to it.

The interaction between alcohol and ecstasy can be harmful yet it is a pretty common occurrence. It can be harmful due to the fact that the batch of ecstasy has other substances in it and this could create a lethal interaction with the alcohol. You can never be too careful and taking any type of drug while drinking alcohol is always a risky situation. Because alcohol is a depressant and ecstasy is essentially a stimulant, the two substances are competing with each other, causing the brain to be placed under severe pressure.

In conclusion, it is safe to say that it is never a good idea to take ecstasy, no matter what environment you find yourself in.

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By Erica D'Arcangelo

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