Over the past six years, the number of young people who have visited emergency rooms after taking the drug Ecstasy has more than doubled, according to a new report released by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Trips to the ER rose from 4,500 to 10,000 between 2005 and 2011 among youth under the age of 21.
"These findings raise concerns about the increase in popularity of this potentially harmful drug, especially in young people," said Dr. Peter Delany, a SAMHSA researcher, in a press release. "Ecstasy is a street drug that can include other substances that can render it even more potentially harmful. We need to increase awareness about this drug's dangers and take other measures to help prevent its use."
MDMA – known as Ecstasy in pill form and Molly in its newer powder variety – produces feelings of increased energy and euphoria. The drug can also cause harmful physical side effects like rapid heartbeat, increased blood pressure and dehydration. Ecstasy is popular at raves and electronic music shows that are often crowded. Taking the drug in these conditions often results in tragedy, as evidenced by recent overdose deaths at New York City, Boston and Los Angeles concerts.
Another cause for concern, according to the report, is that in over one-third of ER visits recorded, the Ecstasy users also had alcohol in their systems. The SAMHSA report states that combining these substances can cause a longer-lasting euphoria, but also make teens less aware about the amount of alcohol that they have consumed.
While Ecstasy is cause of a small fraction of the 1.5 million drug-related ER visits, parents should be aware of this rapid increase. If you need drug intervention help with your teen, don't hesitate to contact Intervention Services today.