Ecstasy addiction is a serious and dangerous problem, especially for American teens. In 2016, 1.7% of 8th-graders, 2.8% of 10th-graders and 4.9% of 12th-graders reported using ecstasy, also known as MDMA. To prevent ecstasy addiction in teens, know the warning signs and risk factors.
What Is Ecstasy?
Ecstasy, also known as MDMA and by many other street names, is a synthetic drug that is classified as both a stimulant and a psychedelic. It’s referred to as a “club drug” because it is often used at raves, concerts and nightclubs. Ecstasy causes a number of mind-altering effects, including feelings of pleasure, heightened and friendly emotions, and changes in time perception and sensory experiences.
How Does Ecstasy Affect Teens?
Many people believe that ecstasy is harmless because it makes people feel happy and have pleasant hallucinations. However, ecstasy can be deadly. Ecstasy is derived from a form of amphetamine, which can hinder the body’s ability to control internal temperature. Hot settings like crowded concerts or common party behaviors like dancing and jumping can increase the body’s temperature to dangerous levels. If the body is unable to cool itself, body temperatures can rise to dangerous levels and cause heart failure, kidney failure, liver problems and death. Oftentimes ecstasy is laced (combined with) other drugs or substances that can be deadly as well. Many teens who use ecstasy report severe negative side effects like heightened anxiety, profuse sweating, chills and feeling faint or dizzy. Even weeks after using ecstasy, teens can experience depression, difficulty sleeping, anxiety and cravings for the drug.
How Are Teens at Risk?
One of the biggest factors that puts teens at risk of ecstasy addiction is a lack of information. Oftentimes pushers will offer teens drugs that are new or unknown to the teen. Many drug users and sellers will use slang terms to refer to ecstasy, which can further confuse a teen. Even if a teen knows that ecstasy is a dangerous and addictive drug, he or she may not know that terms like Molly, X, E and candy can all be used to refer to ecstasy. Teens are also at risk for using ecstasy if they are already using other drugs or alcohol. Drugs like alcohol can lower teens’ inhibitions and make them more likely to accept drugs at parties or raves. Also, because ecstasy is a psychedelic drug like LSD and is often thought to have similar hallucinogenic effects as marijuana, teens may think that ecstasy is just like these more familiar drugs. Ecstasy is a dangerous drug and ecstasy addiction is a serious problem. If you or someone you care about may be suffering from ecstasy addiction, it’s important to seek treatment. Contact a mental health professional or call a drug helpline today.
Drug Enforcement Agency. (n.d.). Drug Fact Sheet: Ecstasy or MDMA. https://www.dea.gov/druginfo/drug_data_sheets/Ecstacy.pdf DrugFree.org. (2014). Biggest Risk Factor for Teens Taking Ecstasy: Use of Other Drugs. https://www.drugfree.org/news-service/biggest-risk-factor-teens-taking-ecstasy-use-drugs/ National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2013). MDMA (Ecstasy/Molly). https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/mdma-ecstasymolly NIDA for Teens. (2017). MDMA (Ecstasy or Molly). https://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/mdma-ecstasy-or-molly