Entries in Ecstasy (2)


Ecstasy Causes Memory Loss, Study Finds

George Doyle/Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A new study has linked Ecstasy use to memory loss, researchers in Germany have found.

Dr. Daniel Wagner said he tracked more than 100 recreational Ecstasy, or MDMA, users over the course of a year and found that they didn’t perform as well on a series of tests at the end of the study.  He said the damage was most evident in associative memory.  For example, Ecstasy users might have difficulty remembering where they put their keys.

“Given the relatively small amounts of MDMA that were used, and given the relatively short time period of one year, we were quite surprised at these specific effects,” Wagner told ABC News.

Those Ecstasy users took an average of 32 pills over the year, or slightly more than one pill every other weekend.  Dr. Stephen Ross,  director of Addiction Psychiatry at New York University’s Tisch Hospital, said the findings weren’t new or surprising.  Other researchers had similar results in 2007.

“It is a drug that certainly can be problematic,” Ross said.

He also said Wagner’s findings should also be taken with a grain of salt, because Wagner and his team didn’t use any brain imaging to confirm damage to the hippocampus, the part of the brain that plays an important role in long-term memory.

Ross said it’s also not clear whether cannabis -- which was not controlled for in the study -- played a role in the memory loss Wagner saw in his patients.  Studies find cannabis can cause  memory impairment.

“The study doesn’t necessarily rule out the fact that other things caused this,” Ross said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Ecstasy-Related ER Visits Spike on Spring Break

Ryan McVay/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A new player may be joining the list of spring break overdose dangers: the "club drug" ecstasy.

New government statistics show a 75 percent spike in ecstasy-related emergency room visits since 2004, prompting Director of National Drug Control Policy Gil Kerlikowske to issue a public warning on the dangers of the popular party drug, especially with the spring break season approaching.

"The latest numbers show we need to work urgently and collaboratively to warn young people about the harms of drug use.  Now is the time when a lot of young adults and high school kids are going on spring break trips, and this is unfortunately when young people often experiment with substance abuse," said Rafael Lemaitre, a spokesperson for the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

And ecstasy-related substance abuse has been especially present in certain spring break hotspots in recent years.

"Miami Beach is like the playground of young adults in America.  We're seeing a lot more ER visits associated with ecstasy.  I'd say ecstasy is one of the top three drugs of choice for Miami Beach," said Dr. David Farcy, director of Mount Sinai Medical Center's Emergency Medicine Critical Division in Miami Beach.

Spring break is one of the peak times the hospital sees ecstasy-related ER visits, Farcy said, often by younger college students.  Other peaks happen during music festivals such as last December's Day Glo Party in Miami, when over a dozen patients came in suffering complications from ecstasy.

Ecstasy, also known as MDMA, is a mood-elevating drug that produces a relaxed, euphoric state but can lead to dangerous, even deadly complications.

Though the U.S. saw a dip in overall youth drug use -- specifically including ecstasy -- at the beginning of the decade, results from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health show ecstasy climbing in prevalence since 2008.  According to Thursday data, an alarming 18 percent of ER visits associated with the drug were by adolescents under age 17.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio