No matter which venue people gather at, what music is playing the background, or what people are attending, there is more often than not, an illicit substance available somewhere nearby. However, one substance has many people worried, especially about younger users, ecstasy. Ecstasy, at its purest form, is called MDMA (which is an acronym for its chemical name 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine), was first developed in Germany in the early 1900s to synthesize other drugs, during the 1970s and 1980s many American psychiatrists began to give it to their patients without any knowledge of its long-term effects or approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and it also gained popularity on the street.In 1985 the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) put ecstasy on the Schedule I drug list. Over the years ecstasy has changed from purer forms of MDMA to a concoction of whatever producers can find. Most ecstasy tablets today contain more methamphetamine, caffeine, rat poison, the over-the-counter cough suppressant dextromethorphan, heroin, the diet drug ephedrine, LSD, and cocaine. Less than 10% of ecstasy pills on the market are pure MDMA. On top of all these, ecstasy is usually also mixed with alcohol and marijuana. Ecstasy first gained popularity amongst adolescents and young adults at nightclub scenes or raves. However, as the drug changes so does the user profile, more and more people have been using ecstasy outside of these scenes and what started off as a demographic of mostly white youth has spread to other ethnic groups and older age groups. Tablets can be different colors and dealers engrave stamps onto the pills as a way to build a logo. The stamp can be a clue as to what kind of pill it is or the dealer themselves. However, the pill can be a makeup of chemicals and unknowing users can overdose on if it is something their body isn’t used to. To learn more about ecstasy click here.
How MDMA & Ecstasy Affect the Brain
MDMA increases the activity of at least three neurotransmitters, serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. MDMA causes more serotonin release than methamphetamine, serotonin is important for regulating sleep, mood, appetite, pain, and other behaviors. The excess release of these neurotransmitters is the reason people on ecstasy feel so “good.” However, the overproduction of these causes the brain to become depleted, which leads to the negative feelings users feel for days or weeks after. Since there are such negative feelings after the effects of ecstasy wear off many users continue to take doses so that they do not feel these effects or use a different substance to try to lessen these effects. While the user is feeling the effects of ecstasy they may perceive color, sound, and other senses more intensely. It is called a club drug because it is often used at clubs, festivals, and concerts such as raves, where lighting, music, and other sensory stimulation is easily available. The downside of this is that ecstasy also disengages the body’s alarm signals. Meaning that if their body gets too hot or tired they may not know and instead of resting, eating, or rehydrating their body as they should, they start to overheat and can faint, endure liver failure, kidney failure, heart failure, or death from heatstroke especially in close quarters like a club packed with people. Another concern for ecstasy users is hyponatremia, which is the over consumption of water that causes the sodium in the blood to dilute to dangerously low levels. Some ecstasy users are aware of the dangers of overheating and the body not being able to tell you that you are, so they just keep drinking water to make sure they don’t overheat but just increase the chances of another negative outcome.
Ecstasy & MDMA at Utah Raves
Ecstasy is typically found in or around club scenes especially raves. In Utah, a notoriously known location for raves is at the Great Saltair, it’s just far enough out of the city to not cause a commotion when people show up to fill its 4,600 capacity venue. Another major scene for ecstasy that is nearby, is the legendary Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) held in Las Vegas annually. Each year thousands of people from around the country and the world gather in the desert for this event. Many Utahns make the trip to be a part of the experience. The event is held throughout the night in an attempt to avoid the 100+ temperature during the day and to utilize the darkness for the light shows and fireworks. Last year 40 festival goers we arrested for felony drug-related crimes within a 12 hour period on Sunday, Saturday 39 arrests of the same kind were made, Sunday two misdemeanor arrests were made and fourteen misdemeanor citations were given, as well as two DUIs. Sunday there were 212 medical calls, 212 on Saturday, and 193 on Friday. Saturday a total of 17 people were hospitalized off site. There were 3 traffic crashes near the festival and a total of 111 ejections from the festival over the weekend. There were an estimated 400,000 people in total at the festival. While no venue or producers favor or promote the use of illicit substances during their events people always have and always will find a way.
Getting Help for Ecstasy Abuse
If you think someone you know is suffering with ecstasy abuse, it is important to talk to them about the dangers of the drug use and help them find help. Many young adults abuse it without understanding the devastating effects it has on their minds. Avid users are sometimes referred to, even by their own friends, as being “e-tarded,” in the sense that they are slower at responding in conversation and are less likely to remember things that happened. While they may think this is a funny joke, the side effects are real and can be harmful long-term. They may also suffer with depression and other ailments because of the depleted neurotransmitters after repeated and heavy use. It is important to get help for all issues and do not self-medicate with more or other substances. If you or your loved one is in need of ecstasy addiction treatment, please call 1-888-986-7848, or contact us here. Help is always available!