ER admissions for Ecstasy increase 74% in just four years…and nearly 20% involve children as young as 12

It was the party drug of the 90s. But alarmingly Ecstasy’s popularity seems to be rising again. A worrying trend is re-emerging for the illegal substance after U.S. hospital admissions involving Ecstasy leapt 74.8 per cent in just four years, according to a national study.
Most of the Ecstasy-related hospital visits involved patients aged 18 to 29, but notably 17.9 per cent involved children as young as 12
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) study indicated the number of hospital emergency visits involving Ecstasy increased from 10,220 in 2004 to 17,865 visits in 2008.
Slightly more than half (52.8 per cent) of the emergency visits were male, the study found. More than a third of the Ecstasy-related visits were made in the South (34.0 per cent) while nearly a third were in the West (31.4 per cent).
Nearly a fifth were made in the Midwest (18.5 per cent), and nearly a sixth were made in the Northeast (16.1 per cent).
But in another alarming trend the study also found that 77.8 per cent of these visits – almost 8 in 10 cases – also involved the use of at least one of more other substances alongside Ecstasy.  The most common drugs used in combination with Ecstasy are marijuana, alcohol and cocaine. In cases where patients were 21 or older 39.7 per cent had taken Ecstasy with three or more other drugs. ‘The resurgence of Ecstasy use is cause for alarm that demands immediate attention and action,’ said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S Hyde, J D.

The drug induces feelings of euphoria but can produce psychedelic and stimulant side effects such as anxiety attacks, hypertension and even hypothermia. The variety and severity of these can increase when the drug is used in combination with other substances.
Dr Peter Delany, director of the Centre for Behavioural Health Statistics and Qualities at SAMHSA, said the agency ‘needed to start digging’ to find the cause of the spike in admissions. ‘Kids are getting it (Ecstasy) at raves and parties, which may indicate a return to social gatherings,’ he said. ‘It is also probably a very cheap drug,’ he added.
‘The largest group of people (doing Ecstasy) are 18 to 29. These are people who have a lot more freedom and a lot more money,’ he said. He also cited the need for prevention education to continue well into adulthood to address this age group.
The more pressing issue, Dr Delany said was the people who were admitted to hospital with more than one substance in their system. ‘Ignorance is part of it,’ he said. ‘There is a lot of risk taking in that age group. ‘This (Ecstasy) is not a safe drug. The first time out of the door can have some serious side effects. When you are mixing it with multiple drugs you don’t know what the reaction will be. Everyone is different,’ he said.
Dr Delany also cited so-called ‘pharm’ or ‘trail mixing’ parties, when young people put a collection of drugs into a bowl and it becomes a very dangerous lucky dip.
But these bowls don’t just contain illegal drugs, they also contain prescription drugs raided from parents’ medical cabinets. Another report by SAMHSA found there has also been a dramatic rise in emergency visits associated with the misuse of prescription drugs.
From 2004 to 2008 these rose from 144,644 visits to 305,885 visits a year and occurred among men and women, as well as among those younger than age 21 and those 21 and older.
The three prescription opioid pain relievers most frequently involved were Oxycodone products (rose 152 percent), Hydrocodone products (rose 123 per cent) and Methadone products (rose 73 per cent).
‘These alarming findings provide one more example of how the misuse of prescription pain relievers is impacting lives and our health care system,’ said SAMHSA administrator Pamela S Hyde. ‘This public health threat requires an all-out effort to raise awareness of the public about proper use, storage, and disposal of these powerful drugs.’

Source: 25th March 2011

Filed under: Ecstasy,Health,Youth :

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