When it comes to drug prevention, we’d like it if there would be hard and fast evidence that proves a specific drug is harmful. It makes the job of teachers, educators, and parents easier if they can say definitely that if a teen abuses a certain drug they will cause some long-lasting effects. While plenty of warnings go unheeded about the dangers of drugs, this is still one of the main anti-drug tactics that is used.
When research comes along, however, that makes a drug sound a little less harmful, we really need to be careful. A new study, done by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has concluded that Ecstasy does not cause permanent brain damage, as previously thought. Other researchers have claimed in the past that the popular drug impairs cognitive functions. But the NIDA study, recently published in the journal Addiction, is thought to be more comprehensive and accurate than any previous study. The $1.8 million study eliminated other factors that cause mental impairment that might have been present in other studies, including sleep deprivation, other drug use, and previous cognitive damage. NIDA’s results are that Ecstasy does not play a part in decreased mental health.
Research is a good thing, and we really do want to know all there is to know about drugs. But some people fear that knowledge like this study may cause setbacks in anti-drug messages. People who hear that Ecstasy does not cause brain damage, for example, may assume that the drug is safe, and begin or continue using it.
Dangers of Ecstasy
Ecstasy, however, still poses a threat to those who take it, and the risks are severe. It has been blamed for injuries and even death among users. Partiers are fond of Ecstasy because it gives them energy, a feeling of euphoria, mood enhancement, decreased anxiety, and heightened intimacy. But there are also dangers associated with taking Ecstasy. Mild side effects include blurred vision, nausea, chills, sweating, and a loss of inhibitions. Some other users have been rushed to emergency rooms for dehydration, hyperthermia, increased heart rate, and seizures because of Ecstasy. In rare cases liver and cardiovascular failure can occur, and death from overdose is also possible. Because of these risks, Ecstasy remains a Schedule I substance.
While we may now know that there are no long-term effects on brain cognition because of Ecstasy, it is important for rave-goers to know that there are still many dangers with this substance. Education programs are vital so that young people can learn how hazardous illegal drugs are to their health.