Ecstasy was originally developed by Merck pharmaceutical company in 1912. In its original form, it was known as “MDMA.” It was used in 1953 by the US Army in psychological warfare tests, and then resurfaced in the 1960s as a psychotherapy medication to “lower inhibitions.” It wasn’t until the 1970s that MDMA started being used as a party drug.
By the early 1980s, MDMA was being promoted as “the hottest thing in the continuing search for happiness through chemistry,” and the “in drug” for many weekend parties. Still legal in 1984, MDMA was being sold under the brand name “Ecstasy,” but by 1985, the drug had been banned due to safety concerns.
Since the late 1980s, Ecstasy has become an abrasive “marketing” term for drug dealers selling “Ecstasy-type” drugs that may, in fact, contain very little or no MDMA at all. And while MDMA itself can produce harmful effects, what is called Ecstasy today can contain a wide mixture of substances—from LSD, cocaine, heroin, amphetamine and methamphetamine, to rat poison, caffeine, dog de-worming substances, etc. Despite the cute logos dealers put on the pills, this is what makes Ecstasy particularly dangerous; a user never really knows what he is taking. The dangers are increased when users increase the dose seeking a previous high, not knowing they may be taking an entirely different combination of drugs.
Ecstasy most commonly comes in pill form but can also be injected and taken in other ways. Liquid Ecstasy is actually GHB, a nervous system depressant—a substance that can also be found in drain cleaner, floor stripper and degreasing solvents.
Tragically, Ecstasy is one of the most popular drugs among youth today. The UN Office on Drugs and Crime estimates Ecstasy users to number approximately 9 million worldwide. The vast majority of users are teenagers and young adults.
Mixed with alcohol, Ecstasy is extremely dangerous and can, in fact, be deadly. So widespread has been the harm of this “designer drug,” that emergency room incidents have skyrocketed more than 1,200% since Ecstasy became the “club drug” of choice at all-night “rave” parties and dance clubs.
Do You Really Want To Party?
Nikki was like many who went to rave parties. Hoping to escape her problems and have a good time, she planned to party through the night with several friends. One of them had a bottle of liquid Ecstasy in his car, so they all decided to take some. Soon the drug started to take over. Nikki danced and danced and danced, pushing herself well beyond her usual limits. As one of her friends later said in a police report, “Nikki wasn’t feeling anything.”
The next morning Nikki was dead. The cause: Drugs - Ecstasy Poisoning
Adapted for Footprints of Serenity from DrugFree.org