By: Noah Taylor Ecstasy (methylenedioxymethamphetamine or MDMA) is a dangerous substance that has become a problem due to it growing popularity. According to a 2001 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the most popular users were aged from 18 to 25. Of this group, 9 percent admitted to using Ecstasy. In this paper I will discuss what actually is ecstasy, the history of the drug, and the effects of the dangerous substance.
Ecstasy is a mind-altering drug that acts as both a stimulant and psychedelic to produce a feeling of euphoria or intense feelings of well-being. It has many other street names including: Adam, Beans, Clarity, Disco Biscuit, Hug Drug, Lover’s Speed, and many more. The drug is most commonly used among middle aged adolescents and its use is growing. Beans are usually used as a party drug and are most seen at raves or dance parties that require lots of energy. It works by increasing levels of serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline. Once the pill is swallowed, it dissolves in the stomach and some is absorbed into the bloodstream where it then travels to the brain. Serotonin is the highest affected by the use of ecstasy. Serotonin plays roles in sleep, appetite, pain thresholds, and everyday mood. Low levels of serotonin are directly related to depression, where high levels are related to happiness. Once the bloodstream of MDMA enters the brain, it causes the release of high numbers of serotonin. It also releases dopamine and noradrenaline, just not as high levels as serotonin. The increase of dopamine activity is responsible for the functional effects of that happen during an ecstasy high. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration “MDMA is a Schedule l drug under the Controlled Substances Act, meaning it has a high potential for abuse, no current legal use for treatment in the United States, and a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision.” In other words, ecstasy is illegal to use in the United States of America. Lover’s Speed is usually taken in tablet form which are sometimes crushed and snorted in the nose. Sometimes it is smoked but rarely is it injected. Users usually take MDMA by “stacking”, which is taking a lot at once, or, “piggy-backing”, which is taking a little bit over a period of time. Another trend is “candy flipping”, which is taking both MDMA and LSD. It is actually common for users to mix MDMA with other substances, like alcohol and marijuana.
MDMA was first created in 1912 by two German scientists working for the Merck pharmaceutical company. The first intended use of MDMA was for appetite issues and for people with low blood pressure. The drug never caught on though until it was reintroduced in the 1970's. During the 1970's, an American pharmologist named Alexander Shulgin began researching the drug and found that it could be used to help treat depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. He incorporated new processes to create the drug. After that, others in the same career began using the substance to help patients experiencing mostly mental disorders. According to Richard Doblin of Harvard University, “Roughly half million doses were used for medical treatment between 1977 and 1985.” In the early 1980's, MDMA became a popular recreational and/or party drug and was given the street name "ecstasy". Many young people began using ecstasy to party, and it even started to be legally distributed. The use of ecstasy became widespread so quickly, that the FDA began doing research and concluded that ecstasy use, lead to sharp downturns and depression. On July 1st 1985, the FDA made MDMA a Schedule 1 controlled substance which made it illegal. Since its ban, ecstasy has been produced, sold, and used illegally by the millions. It has become the number one club drug in the United States and in countries around the world. Even though it’s against the law people still are able to have access to ecstasy. The drug is usually made in labs. We usually get it