The recent tragic deaths of two young people after taking ecstasy at a music event in Australia prompted much media comment. Unfortunately, much of it was misinformed.
Ecstasy is physically and psychologically addictive. The body quickly becomes accustomed to the drug and, over time, it is necessary to progressively increase the dose to achieve the same euphoric effect – this multiplies the liabilities, as it also increases the negative reactions and results a relentless snowballing effect.
There are many risks involved, during both the active phase and the following days. It ranges from taking risky tablets (diluted with toxic or conflicting chemicals) to various other acute and long term consequences. Some of these can cause sudden death.
Long term ecstasy users frequently show symptoms of physical distortion and a general decline in social, workplace, financial and emotional health. Possession of ecstasy can also lead to a criminal record.
Although not conclusively proven, there is good evidence that abuse causes permanent destruction of certain nerve cells which are important for memory and mood regulation.
Because of the user’s resilient nature whilst under the influence, they can be coerced into taking other, more lethal drugs. The other drugs which are sometimes added to the pill compounds, without the user’s knowledge, can also lead to additional, even more harmful addictions.
The contents of the tablets differ substantially. They come premixed with a variety of substances, some of which are other types of drugs, plus an increasing variety and volume of toxic bulking compounds now being mixed with illegal drugs. Because of the crude production process, the strength and risk level of the end product is unpredictable, but it always carries a high risk of chemical poisoning. In some cases, death may occur before emergency treatment is sought.