DAWN: ERs seeing more cases involving abuse of ecstasy

March 27, 2011, 1:28 pm

The Drug Abuse Warning Network issued a report this week documenting a 75% increase in emergency department visits involving ecstasy (MDMA) from the years 2004 – 2008.  Other findings included:

  • In 2008, ecstasy-related ED visits involved an average of 2.8 drugs.
  • Almost 80% of ecstasy-related ED visits involved at least one additional drug.
  • Marijuana, alcohol, and cocaine were the most common drugs taken in combination with ecstasy.
  • Approximately 70% of ED visits involving ecstasy were made by patients 18-29 years old.

The report summarizes the effects of ecstasy:

Aside from addiction, Ecstas use can cause anxiety, agitation, recklessness, increased blood pressure, dehydration, heat stroke, muscle cramping, blurred vision, hyperthermia, heart failure, and kidney failure. The social and environmental contexts in which Ecstasy often is used — prolonged vigorous activity in warm environments, such as dancing at crowded parties — can amplify associated cardiovascular health risks. Because it also compromises metabolic functioning, Ecstasy taken in combination with other drugs may place users at increased risk for additional and life-threatening drug interactions.

The report suggests that “. . . .the use of social networking sites may be the most effective mechanism for both reaching and persuading potential users to abstain from use of Ecstasy and other illicit drugs.” An intriguing thought, but in my opinion practically not feasible. It would a difficult task indeed to get many potential drug abusers to “Friend” or “Follow” effective anti-drug groups.

For the LA Times coverage of this report, click here.

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