Monday, April 25, 2005

A Good Ecstasy Refresher Course

From the St. Catharines Ontario Standard:
Known by the monikers of E, X, XTC or the Hug Drug, ecstasy is both a stimulant and hallucinogen.

A synthetic drug developed by underground chemists, ecstasy contains the chemical compound methylenedioxymethamphetamine, or MDMA, but its true contents are relatively unknown.

"You can never really know what you're taking," Bleich said, adding the pills are often laced with other chemicals.

"Some people try one pill and don't get much of a reaction, so they feel like they should double up the next time and that's when they start getting into real problems."

Ecstasy interferes with the body's temperature regulating mechanism, and body temperature can increase to dangerous levels.

Essentially, ecstasy causes the heart to work harder, but less efficiently.

Risks include severe dehydration and heat exhaustion, abnormal heart beat and liver problems. It can also lead to anoxic enceophalopathy, or lack of oxygen to the brain, resulting in coma or death. Taking additional drugs, or alcohol, increases the risks.

Little is known about the long-term effects of the drug, but preliminary research suggests ecstasy use can damage the brain's ability to regulate emotion and memory.

The drug also dries out the mouth and throat, which users try to combat by drinking large quantities of water.

Drinking too much water, however, can cause the brain to swell, leading to coma or even death. In one case in Toronto, a man died as a result of drinking too much water.

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