With the recent reported celebrity chatter about the drug MDMA—commonly known as Ecstasy or “Molly”—in the news SAMHSA would like to join the discussion by providing some facts about the drug and its dangers.
Ecstasy is a synthetic, psychoactive drug that is chemically similar to the stimulant methamphetamine and the hallucinogen mescaline. It produces feelings of increased energy, euphoria, emotional warmth, and distortions in time, perception, and tactile experiences.
While some consider this to be a party drug, it is illegal and carries potentially dangerous side effects. Ecstasy use can produce psychedelic and stimulant side effects such as anxiety attacks, tachycardia (the heart beating more than 100 beats per minute), hypertension and hyperthermia. The variety and severity of adverse reactions associated with Ecstasy use can increase when the drug is used in combination with other substances of abuse – a common occurrence among Ecstasy users. According to a SAMHSA study, 74 percent of emergency department visits involving Ecstasy use also involve the use of at least one or more other substances of abuse.
Alarmingly, this same study also shows that emergency department visits related to Ecstasy use increased nearly 123 percent from 2004 to 2009 with two-thirds of these visits involving patients aged 18 to 29.
Ecstasy or “Molly” is not something to be taken lightly. SAMHSA calls on those in the entertainment industry to think about how their fans – especially young people – might take their remarks as subtle messages that it’s alright to use these drugs. Illicit drug use is not safe for anyone and should never be considered okay.
If you or someone you know struggles with Ecstasy abuse, SAMHSA offers an online treatment locator service that can be accessed at www.samhsa.gov/treatment or by calling 1-800-662-HELP (4357).