The Facts About Ecstasy Drug Use Among Teens

What Parents Should Know About Teen Use of Molly

Young people having fun
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Ecstasy, also known as MDMA and referred to as "Molly," is a synthetic addictive drug common on the club scene. It is a psychoactive drug with effects that are similar to amphetamine stimulants and hallucinogens, such as mescaline.

What Ecstasy Does

Ecstasy distorts the user's perception of time and physical sensations, and produces feelings of empathy, euphoria, happiness and emotional warmth, as well as increased energy.

user's inhibitions may also be lowered, which can lead to riskier behaviors. Of these effects, the combination of an altered sense of time and boost to energy, in particular, can result in the dangers of extreme dehydration, exhaustion and even death, especially among club-goers.

The long-term effects of Ecstasy use include depression, long-lasting confusion, appetite loss, a lack of interest in sex, issues with attention and memory, sleep problems, and behavioral changes, including anxiety, aggression and impulsiveness.

Ecstasy Use and Parents of Teens

Ecstasy is particularly worrisome for parents of teens. The statistics of teen ecstasy drug use from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) in 2006 include the following concerning trends:

  • Young adults aged 18 to 25 were more likely than youths aged 12 to 17-years-old to be users of Ecstasy within the past year.
  • Among youths, females were more likely than males to be past-year users of Ecstasy.
  • Among young adults, males were more likely than females to be past-year users of Ecstasy.

The Scope of Teen Ecstasy Use Today

In 2009, the Monitoring the Future Study funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) showed that 0.3 percent of the population used ecstasy in the previous 30 days. This statistic is based on youth and adults 12-years-old and older.

The most significant number for this year's study was the number of Americans that used Ecstasy for the first time: 1.1 million. This number is higher than that reported in the 2008 study, which was at 894,000 for first-time users. As teens tend to be the age group that leads in first-time users, this number could point to an upswing in Ecstasy use in teenagers. More data would need to be gathered to prove that point, however.

Teen Ecstacy Dependency Concerns

One of the complications of teen Ecstasy use is the possibility of dependence on the drug. The study cited in the above paragraph found that 43 percent of young adults and teens who reported using Ecstasy met the accepted diagnostic criteria for dependence.

This means that, despite knowing what Ecstasy was doing to their bodies, teens and young adults continued to use the drug. That 43 percent statistic reveals a disturbing trend approaching a one-in-two relationship of Ecstasy users to those users addicted to the drug—all the more reason for parents to be aware of the facts about Ecstasy, and how to prevent your teen from trying Ecstasy.

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Teen Drug Use

Ecstasy Use in Teens

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