The word ‘ecstasy’, in essence, connotes positivity: joy, happiness, bliss. Unfortunately, however, since becoming the name of a recreational drug, Ecstasy now brings with it a negative meaning; it is now accompanied with the thought of danger, and even death.
Ecstasy is one of the drugs that are present in raves – dance parties that can sometimes drag on through the night, characterized by pulsing electronic music, light shows, and recreational drugs. Los Angeles, according to a feature on the Los Angeles Times, is becoming known as a “hotbed of raves,” and has been attracting both young people and local and federal public health officials.
Last month, a two-day rave held at the Los Angeles Memorial Museum drew a crowd of 185,000 participants. Of this number, about 120 people ended up in local hospitals, exhibiting symptoms of drug intoxication. A fifteen-year-old girl ended up dead, with Ecstasy in her system.
Ecstasy is known scientifically as 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA). As a substance it is nearly a hundred years old, and in the 1970s it was said to have acted as a stimulant and hallucinogen in one. It is currently being tested for use, in combination with psychotherapy, in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Those who take Ecstasy generally experience positive feelings – being mentally stimulated and physically energetic among them. However, it can also cause nausea, chills and sweating, muscle cramping, and anxiety. As a substance, MDMA causes an increase in heart rate and blood pressure, and can mess with the hydration level and salt balance of the body.