Pill Popping: Ecstasy and your teens
Does it start with marijuana? Advance to pills? On to needles?
There can be so many different paths your teen can take to the road to addiction, but the one path they need to realize is they don’t need to start to begin with. Understanding the risks and dangers is the beginning of teaching prevention.
October 31st through November 6th is National Drug Facts Week.
This is an opportunity to shatter the myths about drug and substance abuse as well as become an educated parent and build a stronger drug-free community.
What is ecstasy?
“Ecstasy” is a slang term for MDMA, short for 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, a name that’s nearly as long as the all-night parties where MDMA is often used. That’s why MDMA has been called a “club drug.” It has effects similar to those of other stimulants, and it often makes the person feel like everyone is his or her friend, even when that’s not the case.
MDMA is man-made—it doesn’t come from a plant like marijuana does. Other chemicals or substances—such as caffeine, dextromethorphan (found in some cough syrups), amphetamines, PCP, or cocaine—are sometimes added to, or substituted for, MDMA in Ecstasy tablets. Makers of MDMA can add anything they want to the drug, so its purity is always in question.
What Are the Common Street Names?
There are a lot of slang words for MDMA. “Ecstasy” is one of the most common. You might also hear “E,” “XTC,” “X,” “Adam,” “hug,” “beans,” “clarity,” “lover’s speed,” and “love drug.”
How Is It Used?
Most people who abuse MDMA take a pill, tablet, or capsule. These pills can be different colors, and sometimes have cartoon-like images on them. Some people take more than one pill at a time, called “bumping.”
How Many Teens Use It?
According to a 2010 NIDA-funded study, over the past 10 years smart young teens have turned their backs on MDMA. Since 2001, the percentage of 8th graders who have ever tried MDMA dropped from 5.2 percent in 2001 to 3.3 percent in 2010. The drop among 10th graders and 12th graders was similar. However, between 2009 and 2010, some increases were seen in the abuse of MDMA by 8th and 10th graders. For example, past-year use of MDMA increased among 10th graders from 3.7 percent in 2009 to 4.7 percent in 2010. Also, fewer 10th graders saw “great risk” in occasionally using MDMA, which means that they may not understand the health risks of using MDMA as well as they should.
Is MDMA Addictive?
Like other drugs, MDMA can be addictive for some people. That is, people continue to take the drug despite experiencing unpleasant physical side effects and other social, behavioral, and health consequences.
No one knows how many times a person can use a drug before becoming addicted or who’s most vulnerable to addiction. A person’s genes, living environment, and other factors play a role in whether they are likely to become addicted to MDMA.
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