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Ecstasy: What’s All the Rave About?

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1 Ecstasy: What’s All the Rave About?
Hello, I’m (NAME, TITLE, ORGANIZATION), and I’m pleased to welcome you to “Ecstasy: What’s All the Rave About?”

2 Overview What is ecstasy? What are ecstasy’s effects and signs of use?
Who uses ecstasy? What are the treatment options? What can be done to prevent ecstasy use? Where can we get more information? Here’s an overview of what we will cover in today’s presentation: First of all, we’ll learn exactly what ecstasy is. We’ll discuss this drug’s immediate and long-term effects, and signs that may indicate someone is using ecstasy. We’ll look at who is using this drug. We’ll explore what can be done about the problem of ecstasy in our communities in terms of treatment and prevention. And, finally, I’ll share resources you can use for more information.

3 What is ecstasy?

4 Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA)
Ecstasy Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) XTC Disco Biscuits Go Adam X Truck Driver Clarity Essence Cristal Hug Drug Ecstasy is the common name for MDMA in its many forms and varieties. The term MDMA typically refers to the drug in its purest form. Ecstasy is also known by several slang names shown on this slide. Ecstasy is one of the most rapidly growing phenomena in today’s drug scene. A favorite drug among young partygoers, ecstasy is now moving into the social mainstream, with a growing number of adult users. Much of ecstasy’s popularity is based on the widespread misconception that it is a harmless aid to social activities and self-awareness. Some see it as an alternative to more harmful drugs. These views pose special challenges for parents and others trying to prevent use of this drug. The truth is ecstasy is dangerous. ____________ (Note: Slang terms will pop up separately during slide presentation.) Ecstasy use is one of the most rapidly growing phenomena in today’s drug scene.

5 What is ecstasy? Illegal “club drug”
White crystalline powder with a slightly musty odor Produces effects similar to mescaline (hallucinogen) and speed (stimulant) Usually in gelatin capsules or tablets Stamped with names or symbols Ecstasy is commonly referred to as a club drug—one of several illegal designer drugs used at clubs and all-night dance parties known as raves. In its purest form, ecstasy is a white crystalline powder with a slightly musty odor. It produces effects similar to the hallucinogen mescaline and the stimulant amphetamine, or speed. As a result, ecstasy combines an energizing effect with heightened physical senses. Ecstasy is usually found in capsule or tablet form. Traffickers often stamp names and symbols on these tablets, trying to establish a “brand.” These different brands vary widely in strength and content.

6 Ecstasy pills often contain other dangerous substances
Even though we are focusing on ecstasy, we should remember that ecstasy pills often contain other dangerous substances. Pills sold as ecstasy sometimes contain unknown substances instead of, or mixed with, MDMA.

7 Ecstasy facts Patented in the early 1900’s
Classified as an illegal drug in 1985 Produced in Holland and Belgium for less than $1 a tablet Domestic traffickers sell tablets for $20 to $40 each Customs seized 10 times more MDMA tablets in 1999 than in 1998. First, let’s take a quick history lesson on this drug. Ecstasy was patented in Germany in the early 1900’s. In the 1970’s, it surfaced as a psychotherapy tool used in an attempt to improve communication. Later, MDMA became available on the street. With the rise of the rave phenomenon, it gained wide popularity as a club drug and became known as ecstasy. In 1985, MDMA was classified as an illegal drug which has no identified medical use. Today, most of the ecstasy consumed in the United States is produced in covert “kitchen labs” in Holland and Belgium. Organized crime syndicates smuggle it into the United States. Here, traffickers sell the tablets—produced in Europe for less than a dollar—for $20 to $40 apiece. The profits are staggering and continue to grow. The DEA and U.S. Customs Service seized 1.2 million MDMA tablets in 1998 compared to 12 million tablets in That’s a tenfold increase in just 1 year.

8 What are ecstasy’s effects/signs of use?

9 The effects of ecstasy What is the allure of this drug?
In short, people take ecstasy for its combination of euphoric and stimulating effects. Ecstasy is believed to work by boosting levels of two chemicals in the brain. One is serotonin. The other is dopamine. Drugs that raise the levels of these chemicals affect mood and muscle control and add to feelings of well-being. Ecstasy users experience an initial rush followed by a process called “rolling,” which is characterized by waves of calm and positive feelings that can last 2 to 6 hours. Since ecstasy is also a stimulant, it increases energy levels and reduces the perceived need to eat, drink, or sleep. As a result, users can endure extended dance parties.

10 Short-term effects Feelings of well-being and empathy Reduced anxiety
Enhanced self-confidence Greater acceptance of others Increased energy Increased desire for physical contact and visual stimulation Intensified awareness of senses But it is not just used in the party scene. Young people and adults have begun using ecstasy at home and in other social settings. They seek the euphoric feelings that come with ecstasy use as well as its other typical effects, including: Reduced anxiety and enhanced self-confidence. Greater acceptance of others. Increased emotional and physical energy. Increased desire for physical contact and visual stimulation due to greater awareness of touch, sight, and sound. It’s helpful to remember that a combination of these effects, as well as the long term effects I am about to explain, can be signs of possible ecstasy use.

11 Ecstasy’s downside Increases in heart rate and blood pressure Nausea
Loss of appetite Jaw tightness Compulsive chewing and teeth clenching Anxiety, panic, and depression Health risks increase if ecstasy is combined with another drug Claims that ecstasy is just a “feel good” drug ignore serious and immediate problems. Increases in heart rate and blood pressure, nausea, and other negative effects place a strain on a user’s body. Because teeth grinding and jaw tension can last several hours, users risk chewing the inside of the mouth and grinding the enamel off of teeth. Risks increase if a user combines ecstasy with another drug—either knowingly or unknowingly. As I mentioned earlier, ecstasy pills may contain other dangerous substances. These include stimulants such as methamphetamine, and hallucinogens, such as LSD and PCP. Thus, users can’t be certain about what’s in an ecstasy pill or how strong it is.

12 Ecstasy can be deadly In fact, ecstasy can be deadly. By reducing the body’s ability to regulate its temperature and water content, ecstasy puts users at risk of overheating and dehydration. This is of particular concern in the hot, crowded conditions of a rave or dance club. Ecstasy-related deaths are associated with body temperatures as high as 109 degrees. The water loss that comes with high fever causes most of these deaths.

13 What comes after the “high”?
Hungover feeling and depression— “e-tarded” Moodiness, anxiety, and paranoia Irritability Loss of appetite Insomnia Chills or sweating General tiredness The mildest after-effect of ecstasy is a hungover feeling. The day after taking the drug, most users feel depressed and slow, or “e-tarded.” For days and sometimes weeks after taking ecstasy, users can also experience: Moodiness, anxiety, and paranoia. Irritability. Loss of appetite. Insomnia. Chills or sweating. General tiredness and drowsiness. Loss of balance. Body aches.

14 Long-term effects Long-lasting changes Tolerance Dependence
Possible brain damage Tolerance Need greater amounts for the same effects Dependence Unable to socialize without MDMA Ecstasy is a relatively new drug and its long-term effects still are being evaluated. However, mounting evidence strongly suggests that over time and at high doses, ecstasy can cause long-lasting changes in the brain. Possible effects include long-term damage to memory and also decreased intelligence and ability to concentrate and learn. All of these contribute to falling grades. Increased tolerance of ecstasy is common. As users seek to repeat their initial experience, they often find that they need greater amounts of ecstasy to achieve the same effects. Dependency also is a possibility. For example, people who become accustomed to partying and socializing while on ecstasy may feel unable to communicate, make friends, or enjoy themselves without it.

15 Signs of “rave” culture
Pacifiers Surgical masks and mentholated rub Neon glowsticks Brightly colored beads Clothing with the letters PLUR The equipment and clothing styles of the rave culture are possible clues to ecstasy use. These items do not necessarily indicate ecstasy use. However, ecstasy users who attend raves often: Chew pacifiers to relieve jaw clenching. Wear surgical masks and mentholated rubs. Breathing fumes from medicated ointments produces a cooling effect that intensifies the high. Use neon glowsticks and wear brightly colored beads for visual stimulation. Wear clothing with the letters PLUR—for “peace, love, unity, and respect,” also known as the “raver’s motto.”

16 Who uses ecstasy? Given the negative effects of ecstasy, you may wonder who would use ecstasy in the first place? Well, those between 18 and 25 years old report the heaviest use. However, MDMA is used by a wide variety of people and is spreading quickly into more “traditional” social settings in both urban and suburban populations.

17 Who uses ecstasy? In 2000, 6.4 million Americans had used ecstasy at least once. (2000 SAMHSA Household Survey) Ecstasy use is most widespread among white, upper-middle-class youth. (2000 Monitoring the Future) African-American students are much less likely than white or Hispanic students to use ecstasy. (2000 Monitoring the Future) MDMA use has jumped, especially among younger students. (2000 Monitoring the Future) Nationally, about 6.4 million Americans have reported using MDMA at least once, according to a Federal study. Another national study showed that ecstasy use is most widespread among white, upper-middle-class youth. In contrast, African-American students were much less likely than white or Hispanic students to use ecstasy. And although the great majority of youth do not use ecstasy, the likelihood of a young person using MDMA increases dramatically during the high school years. In fact, although high school students’ use of other drugs, such as cocaine and heroin, has remained steady or decreased in recent years, ecstasy use has jumped, most rapidly among younger students.

18 Anyone can be an ecstasy user
Teenagers College students Youth at all-night parties Gay men Professionals in many fields I’ve already emphasized that youth are potential users. But ecstasy use also is rising among people in various groups, including: Professionals in their thirties and forties who represent many fields—from the music industry to investment banking. Some gay men who have made ecstasy an accepted part of club-going and other social life. Those who use ecstasy in search of spiritual enlightenment and artistic expression. People searching for spiritual enlightenment

19 What are the treatment options ?

20 Available Treatments No specific treatments exist for ecstasy use
Diagnosing ecstasy use is difficult Dependency can be addressed with cognitive behavior therapy and self-help groups Prevention is key as there are no specific treatment for ecstasy’s negative effects or for an ecstasy overdose. The best that doctors can do is treat the symptoms. Because the content of ecstasy pills varies so much, it can be hard for doctors to distinguish ecstasy use from other drug use. In addition, patients may be unsure about what they have taken or arrive at the emergency room unconscious. In general, dependency on ecstasy can be addressed with the same techniques used to treat other forms of drug abuse. These include a combination of: Cognitive behavior therapy to help patients recognize and change problem behavior and patterns of thinking. Self-help groups.

21 What can be done to prevent ecstasy use?

22 Caregivers can help prevent ecstasy use
Establish and maintain good communication with youth Be involved in young peoples’ lives Be a positive role model Let young people know what is expected of them Show appreciation for young people Teach youth to choose friends wisely Monitor youth activities Parents and caregivers can make a big difference in how young people deal with ecstasy and other drugs. A stable home life with caring relationships, two-way communication, and appropriate parental supervision often helps children and adolescents stay away from drugs. Adults also should be good role models. Letting youth know the limits of acceptable behavior works best when all caregivers behave the same way. Parents should be observant to their children’s attitudes, activities, and friends. Parents should also be alert to any ecstasy- or other drug-related clothing, paraphernalia, or slogans. Monitoring activities and behavior is especially important if a young person is attending raves or similar events. If parents or caregivers discover that a child or teenager is using drugs, it’s urgent that they take action and get professional help.

23 Help children refuse drugs
When discussing drugs with youth, it’s important to have the facts and know the risks. This is especially true in the case of ecstasy, given its special appeal to young people and the widespread myth that it’s harmless. Adults also can help children practice ways to refuse drugs.

24 Prevention requires community involvement
A community working together includes: Parents, youth, and families Faith communities Media Schools Professional and civic groups Health and social services Courts/Law enforcement Businesses Treatment agencies and health organizations Parents play a critical role in preventing ecstasy use, but they need the support of the entire community. Communities can combine environmental prevention efforts with individual- and family-focused prevention activities. With regard to ecstasy, communities might start by making sure that the key groups—including health care personnel, police, schools, and recreational programs—are aware of the drug’s popularity and the problems that it causes. These organizations can help educate parents, other caring adults, young people, and the general public.

25 Establish a no-use community norm
All groups working together can successfully create a safer, drug-free environment and help establish a no-use community norm.

26 Where can we get more information?

27 Resources SAMHSA’s National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information at , Click on Campaigns and Programs and go to the Drug Facts icon. Informational Web sites whitehousedrugpolicy.gov Finally, there are a number of places to turn for additional information. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information is an excellent source for materials—audiovisual and printed. The Clearinghouse can be a first step when someone is seeking to help a friend or loved one who is using ecstasy or other drugs. It will give you the telephone number and address of a treatment center near you. Several other valuable Web sites are listed here as well. For example, the Prevention DSS Web site has a variety of community presentation materials and programs that can be tailored to meet local needs.

28 Ecstasy: What’s All the Rave About?
To view slide presentation, 30-minute video, and 90-minute teleconference go to: Click on Campaigns and Programs and go to the Drug Facts icon To order the VHS video call: This presentation and a 30-minute video were developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through its Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration or “SAMHSA.” These materials are available on the Internet at <www.SAMHSA.gov> for review. Click on the Drug Facts icon and go to the ecstasy section. A 90-minute teleconference is also available for you to watch in streaming video format at this Web site. You will need to use a Window Media Player. You also may order the 30-minute VHS tape from SAMHSA’s NCADI—the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information. Call the 800 number to order.

29 Ecstasy: What’s All the Rave About?
Teleconference produced by The Office of National Drug Control Policy The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Center for Substance Abuse Prevention Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America National Guard Bureau’s Counterdrug Office National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Drug Abuse as part of the teleconference series A national teleconference of the same name was produced by a coalition of organizations as part of a series of teleconferences addressing myths and facts about illicit drugs. The other teleconferences in the series deal with methamphetamine, heroin, marijuana, and inhalants. Myths, Facts, and Illicit Drugs: What You Should Know


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