Ecstasy in Ohio
Ecstasy is a problem in Ohio and across the United States. Ecstasy is also known as MDMA, Adam, or XTC on the street. It is a synthetic, psychoactive (mind-altering) drug with hallucinogenic and amphetamine like properties. Its chemical structure (3-4 methylenedioxymethamphetamine) is similar to two other synthetic drugs, MDA and methamphetamine, which are known to cause brain damage. Beliefs about Ecstasy are reminiscent of similar claims made about LSD in the 1950's and 1960's, which proved to be untrue. According to its proponents, MDMA can make people trust each other and can break down barriers between therapists and patients, lovers, and family members. Many problems users encounter with MDMA are similar to those found with the use of amphetamines and cocaine.
These problems include:
- Psychological difficulties including confusion, depression, sleep problems, drug craving, severe anxiety, and paranoia during and sometimes weeks after taking ecstasy (even psychotic episodes have been reported).
- Physical symptoms such as muscle tension, involuntary teeth clenching, nausea, blurred vision, rapid eye movement, faintness, and chills or sweating.
- Increases in heart rate and blood pressure. This is a special risk for people with circulatory or heart disease.
Recent research findings also link ecstasy use to long-term damage to those parts of the brain critical to thought and memory. It is thought that the drug causes damage to the neurons that use the chemical serotonin to communicate with other neurons. In monkeys, exposure to ecstasy for four days caused brain damage that was evident six to seven years later. This study provides further evidence that in Ohio, people who take ecstasy may be risking permanent brain damage. Also, there is evidence that people who develop a rash that looks like acne after ecstasy use may be risking severe side effects, including liver damage, if they continue using.
- In the 1970's Ecstasy was actually given to psychotherapy patients, but in 1986 this practiced was stopped when animal studies showed that Ecstasy use caused brain damage.
- Individuals who use PCP generally report an out-of-body experience where they feel detached from reality, or ones consciousness is disconnected from reality.
- Over one million adolescents each year are confirmed as victims of child abuse and neglect by state child protective service agencies. State welfare records indicate that alcohol and drug abuse is one of the top two problems exhibited by families in 81% of the reported cases.
- Methamphetamine use is associated with increased numbers of HIV infections in some populations.