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Ecstasy-related ER visits among youth more than double over a six-year period

The findings also showed frequent use of alcohol along with ecstasy, known to increase the euphoria caused by the drug.

By Ananth Baliga
Ecstasy-related ER visits among youth more than double over a six-year period
Ecstasy, Molly or MDMA-related emergency room visits rose 128 percent between 2005 and 2011 among those under age 21. (Credit: DEA)

Dec. 4 (UPI) -- Hospital emergency room visits related to the drug ecstasy rose 128 percent between 2005 and 2011 among young people under age 21, according to a new report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Ecstasy, of which 3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine or MDMA is a primary component, has both stimulant and hallucinogenic properties, and produces feelings of increased energy and euphoria among users.

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Recently, organizers of the Electric Zoo festival held in New York City had to cancel the festival because two youths died after taking fatal doses of "Molly," purportedly the pure powder or crystal form of MDMA, though not everything sold as Molly is actually pure MDMA.

Ecstasy-related deaths have been reported across the country in cities like Boston, Seattle, Miami and Washington, D.C., mostly occurring at raves and music festivals.

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In 2005, there were 4,460 visits by patients younger than 21 years old with this number jumping to 10,176 in 2011. The findings also found a correlation between ecstasy and underage drinking. On an average 33 percent of patients who visited the emergency room for ecstasy-related complications had also consumed alcohol. The addition of alcohol reportedly makes for a longer-lasting euphoria.

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“These findings raise concerns about the increase in popularity of this potentially harmful drug, especially in young people,” said Dr. Peter Delany, director at SAMHSA.

According to the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime's 2013 World Drug Report, although ecstasy use is dropping globally, though it's on the rise in Europe, which is third behind North America and Oceania in prevalence of ecstasy rates, above the global average of .4 percent of the population.

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[Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration] [World Drug Report 2013]

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