MDMA ('ecstasy') and other 'club drugs'. The new epidemic
Koesters SC, Rogers PD, Rajasingham CR.
Department of Internal Medicine, Department of Pediatrics,
Ohio State University College of Medicine and Public Health,
Columbus Children's Hospital, Columbus, OH, USA.
Pediatr Clin North Am 2002 Apr;49(2):415-33
ABSTRACTUnfortunately, perceptions that the club drugs can be safe endure. Some groups, such as the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Study, continue to lobby for the legalization of MDMA for research purposes . DanceSafe is an organization that seeks to educate the "nonaddicted" user to decrease the risks . The DanceSafe Web site offers tips on the safe use of MDMA, such as attention to hydration status and ambient temperature. It also offers free testing of tablets submitted by mail and sells home testing kits to determine the content of pills sold as "ecstasy." Although much remains unknown about the long-term consequences of MDMA and the club drugs, there are clearly enough short-term dangers to prompt more aggressive education and surveillance for its use. Scare tactics and exaggerations often are ignored , while Web sites full of anecdotal or incomplete information may lead the unaware user to increased use . Organizations such as DanceSafe imply that proper education decreases addiction and that only uneducated users or addicts suffer the life-altering consequences of drug use. The fallacy in the mission of educating "nonaddicted" users is evident. Peer-based education, with a focus on both he short-term dangers and long-term consequences, may be a more effective approach . Both new and established drugs of abuse continue to plague teens and young adults. Pediatric, family practice, and Med-Peds physicians, and pediatric pharmacologists need to remain vigilant about patterns and trends of drug abuse. MDMA and the other "club drugs" are not benign. Their effects target the brain, alter neurochemistry, and possibly cause irreversible structural damage. What may seem like a harmless drug in a weekend dance club has the potential for major public health problems in years to come . Effective education and timely intervention may prevent these addictive drugs from becoming a way of life, a lifestyle that may have a literal "dead end."Club drugs
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