18 Apr Ecstasy: The Designer Drug
Ecstasy is a drug that is popular at raves and parties, and is gaining popularity in various situations across society. Ecstasy comes in a pill form that can be produced in a myriad of shapes and colors, and often features the manufacturer’s symbol or brand. This gives the idea that ecstasy use is fun and not a big deal, but the opposite is true. Ecstasy use is associated with a whole range of dangerous side effects.
Ecstasy is a synthetic chemical derived from the sassafras tree. It first came into use in the 1970s when it was researched as a psychotherapeutic drug to treat social disorders. FDA approval for the drug was denied and it was made illegal in 1985. Ecstasy is now listed as a Schedule 1 illegal substance because it has no medical use and has a high potential for abuse. It is now one of the most readily available drugs on the market.
When ecstasy is first ingested, the initial effects are pleasurable. It stimulates an increase of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine in the brain, which gives users an increased amount of energy and euphoria. Ecstasy makes people feel happy, relaxed, and more empathetic towards others. It gives users a feeling of trust and closeness towards others, which is why it is sometimes referred to as the “love drug.”
Like any illegal drug, ecstasy has a whole slew of negative side effects associated with it as well. What seems like a positive aspect of the drug, like an enhanced mood and affectionate feelings, actually turn out to be negative. A person under its influence may engage in sexual activity that is out of character for them and that they may regret later. This also increases their risk for contracting HIV and other STDs. People under its influence can react negatively and experience headache, vomiting, loss of control of body movements, trouble breathing, high body temperature, rapid heart rate, and death. Once the drug wears off, the person is left exhausted and may experience confusion, depression, and anxiety as their body’s serotonin reserves are left depleted.
The initial euphoria associated with ecstasy lasts only a few hours, but the negative side effects last for days. There is a high risk of overdose with this drug because the various manufacturers of it use different ingredients in different amounts to produce it and because users often do back-to-back doses to maintain their high. The dependency rate of the drug is unknown, but many users have reported cravings and withdrawal symptoms when they quit using it. Ecstasy use also lowers a person’s inhibitions, which may lead them to experiment with other, more addictive substances.