I entirely support the conclusion of Dr. William Bennett, co-chair of DWI, concerning the acute and chronic irreversible damaging effects of ‘Ecstasy’ (3-4 methylenedoxyrnethamphetamine ) its methylated derivatives. These effects have been reported for the past 15 years in dozens of articles published in the biomedical specialized literature (Pharmacology, Toxicology, Pathology) MDMA is a neurotoxic substance associated with acute and chronic brain damage and cardiovascular toxicity,- along with impairment of reproductive function and fetal development (see Ellenhorn, Medical Toxicology, Elsevier 1995).

MDMA is a ring substituted amphetamine derivative chemically related to both hallucinogens and stimulants.

Marked tolerance occurs with an increase to 10 times the initial dose. After one ingestion, the main complications reported are hallucinations, paranoia, insomnia, tachycardia, muscle rigidity (trismus) which resolves within 48 hours. Regular users present weight loss, exhaustion, jaundice, paranoia, damage to hepatic function and spontaneous intracranial hemorrhage. Signs can develop several hours after ecstasy ingestion. These complications occur unpredictably and require immediate action with a treatment similar to that used by anesthetist to treat severe hyperthermia (dantrolene) No pharmaceutical company has ever made MDMA nor has the FDA given its approval. In 1985 the DEA classified MDMA as a Schedule I compound with a high potential of abuse and without any current medical use.
Effects of MDMA on brain and behaviour are mediated by its effect on serotoninergic nerve terminals and impairment of turnover of this neuromediator. Intrauterine growth abnormalities, complications of pregnancy and delivery including maternal death, and neurophysiologic and neurobehavioral abnormalities in neonates have been described with antenatal methamphetamine drug exposure. Intrauterine death has followed an intravenous injection of amphetamine.
Methamphetamine studies in pregnancy describe an increased incidence of intrauterine growth retardation, prematurity and perinatal complications. Body weight, length, and head circumference changes in the infant are described. At birth, withdrawal symptoms may include abnormal sleep patterns, tremors, hypertonicity, a high—pitched cry, poor feeding patterns, sneezing, and frantic sucking. During the first year, the infant may exhibit lethargy, poor feeding, poor alertness, and severe lassitude.

Source: Dr. Gabriel G. Nahas., Nov 2001

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