What Is Ecstasy?

LaFayette JSHS: David D.
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Ecstasy. Sounds harmless, doesn’t it? But it’s not. In fact, it can wreck your life. If you care about who you hook up with then you won’t do ecstasy, or else might be fighting an STD. Now that is harmful.
Webster’s dictionary defines ecstasy as “great joy; rapture; a state of being overpowered with emotion, especially joy; the condition of being beside oneself with feeling.” Sounds great, doesn’t it? Ecstasy is also the name of a drug, and it has become so popular among teens in recent years because of the joyous feeling it creates.

Ecstasy, also called molly, has grown in popularity among young people who go to nightclubs or dance parties. It’s talked about in pop and hip-hop songs when singers refer to “molly.” It’s easy to see why a drug that makes you feel euphoric (happy and carefree), excited, and confident could become so popular. However, ecstasy definitely has many downsides. It is an illegal drug. It has the potential for misuse because it is very addictive. Ecstasy can cause severe physical and emotional side effects as well. Worst of all, ecstasy can kill you.

Ecstasy, the Drug

You have probably heard conflicting messages about drugs. Your parents or teachers may be telling you that drugs are harmful and to just say no, whereas your friends are saying, “Go ahead and try it.” Do not be confused or misled. Get the facts for yourself. The decision you make could affect you for the rest of your life. It is up to you.

Drugs are non-food substances that people use to change the way their bodies normally work. For the most part, drugs that have accepted medical uses and no serious side effects are considered legal. Substances such as caffeine and aspirin fall into that category. Alcohol and tobacco are also legal but they can be abused. On the other hand, drugs such as heroin and cocaine that have no accepted medical value, or drugs that are very harmful or addictive, are usually illegal. MDMA is an illegal drug with no accepted medical use.

MDMA is an illegal drug with no accepted medical use.
Some drugs come from natural sources, such as plants or mushrooms, while others are created artificially with chemicals. MDMA (short for the chemical substance 3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine) is a synthetic (human-made) drug created in laboratories. Drugs are classified according to their effects and chemical makeup. For example, alcohol is a depressant, or “downer,” because it slows down the normal activity of the body when consumed. Caffeine, on the other hand, is a stimulant, or “upper,” because it speeds up the body’s activities. Drugs that affect the mind or behavior are known as psychoactive drugs. Some psychoactive drugs cause users to see images or hear sounds that don’t really exist. This sensory experience is called a hallucination. A drug that causes hallucinations is called a hallucinogen.

MDMA, or ecstasy, is a psychoactive drug. It is classified as a hallucinogen because it can cause distortions in how you see things. It also acts like a group of stimulants called amphetamines. Like amphetamines, ecstasy speeds up the body’s activities.

Drugs also differ in the way they are taken and in how much they cost. In the case of MDMA, it is often taken orally (through the mouth) but it can also be snorted (inhaled through the nose), taken intravenously (injected through a vein directly into the bloodstream with a syringe), or smoked. The drug comes in the form of a tablet, capsule, or loose powder. Ecstasy is MDMA in a pill form. Molly is MDMA in a powder form or a gel cap. Molly is sometimes called a “purer” form of ecstasy. That is not always the case. Because it is sold as a loose powder, molly is often cut with other drugs, chemicals, and substances, including amphetamine or PCP. When you take molly, you have no idea what you’re getting.

A Word on Herbal Ecstasy

Since ecstasy became a popular recreational drug, some companies began marketing herbal look-alikes to teens. With attractive-looking packaging and promises of “a floaty, mind-expanding euphoria,” products like “Herbal Ecstasy” have drawn teens who want to experience a legal and natural high. Herbal Ecstasy was created as a natural alternative to an illegal drug. It should not, however, be mistaken for MDMA. Herbal Ecstasy is not made with the same ingredients as MDMA, nor does it produce the same high. Its main ingredient, ephedra, is a natural stimulant. It raises your blood pressure and heart rate and makes your skin tingle, but it doesn’t affect your brain chemistry in the same way that MDMA does.

It is important to bear in mind that natural and legal do not necessarily mean safe. In large doses, herbal alternatives to ecstasy can cause severe side effects. Ephedra has been linked to heart attacks, seizures, and death. After the 2001 death of Northwestern University football player Rashidi Wheeler and the 2003 death of Baltimore Orioles pitcher Mark Bechler, both of whom were using ephedra, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has banned the sale of ephedra. Ephedra products were once used for weight loss and bodybuilding, but now the FDA is warning people that these uses can be dangerous to your health.