Ecstasy (MDMA) has recently gained popularity in the media due to the dramatic increase in its use by Americans, especially teens and young adults. This has lead to a surge in research efforts to determine the short and long-term physical and neurological risks that are associated with the drug. It has been discovered that Ecstasy is one of the most dangerous drugs currently available on the streets of America. It poses serious risks to its users both psychically and neurologically, being known to cause damage to major organ systems in the body, including the liver, heart and brain. Psychically, there are temporary negative side effects that occur while the drug is still active in the body, and also long-term damage that can occur when used improperly. Inappropriate use is defined as taking larger than normal doses, using the drug for extended periods, and engaging in high-energy activities such as dancing. As for the neurological effects, Ecstasy is known to cause irreversible damage to serotonin receptors in the brain. The functional consequences of this damage are problems with learning and memory, and potential psychological difficulties.
Ecstasy was first seen on the streets of America in the early 1970's. It wasn't until 1986, however, that the Drug Enforcement Administration classified it as a Schedule 1 drug, making it illegal for all uses (Beck 4). Since that time, Ecstasy has grown in popularity among high school and college students. The National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, conducted in 1998 by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, has found that "an estimated 1.5 percent (3.4 million) of Americans had used MDMA at least once during their lifetime. By age ...
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