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Ecstasy (and other 'party drugs')
News Archive

So What WAS in the News?

Substance abuse, whether legal or illegal, is so widespread in modern society that there are many stories about it in the news everyday.

This page contains stories about ecstasy and the other 'party drugs' related to it which were, originally, placed on the Substance Abuse News page but which can no longer be called 'News'.

In addition to items specifically about this substance there are many items related to substance use and misuse in general. These general items can be found in the 'All Substances News Archive'.

Please go to the 'Phantastica' page to access stories related to specific substances.

Proposed Trial to Look at MDMA for treating PTSD
3rd October 2011

Following a small trial in the USA, UK researchers hope to get permission to use MDMA, the active ingredient in ecstasy, to treat sufferers with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Read more in today's blog.

Ecstasy Does Not Impair Cognitive Function
16th February 2011

'Talk to Frank', the UK government backed website that aims to provide information for young people about drugs says of ecstasy,  'There’s some uncertainty about the long term side effects of Es. But evidence suggests it can cause damage to the brain causing long term problems – like depression, personality change and memory loss.'

This long-term damage to the brain has long been claimed to be one of the greatest dangers of ecstasy. And, of course, it has the bogey-man quality of not having to be immediately manifest. Take ecstasy today and you may be fine but who knows what might happen in ten or twenty years?

Now, new research published by Addiction journal indicates that the link between ecstasy and cognitive function impairment is a false one.

Researchers in the USA looked at 52 ecstasy users and found 'little evidence of decreased cognitive performance' compared to 59 non-users. Normally, a study involving only 52 people would raise concerns about the sample size but, in this case, the 52 subjects were carefully selected from an initial 1,500. The elimination was to remove users who took substances other than ecstasy currently or in the past and to identify only users who were members of the 'rave' subculture. These 52 subjects were matched with 59 non-users but, for the first time, these non-users were also involved in the 'rave' subculture so that users and non-users could be matched for things like exposure to noise, late nights, etc. In both cases, testing was done to confirm the chemical status of the subjects and controls.

The researchers conclude that they failed 'to demonstrate marked residual cognitive effects in ecstasy users'.

But, the researchers say, this does not amount to saying that ecstasy is safe because of the unknown contaminants and strength of ecstasy tablets and the lack of any supervision over its manufacture. So, while ecstasy may not cause problems, illegal ecstasy very possibly might.

The full paper is only available to subscribers but Addiction has a press release on its website with fairly full details.

Is Ketamine the New Ecstasy?

In a paper to be published in the December issue of 'Addiction', researchers from University College London suggest 'that heavy use of ketamine is harmful to aspects of both cognitive function and psychological wellbeing'.

The researchers say the ketamine use in increasing rapidly in clubs where Ecstasy has been the traditional drug of choice.

This report follows the recent publication of data showing that a high proportion of pills being sold in clubs as Ecstasy contain absolutely no MDMA the active ingredient expected to be found.

It raises the possibility that clubbers are switching to a potentially more harmful substance because they can no longer rely on pills being sold as Ecstasy to provide the effects they are seeking.

Is Water Good for You?

An inquest jury has been told how Andrew Thornton, 44, died in December 2007 after drinking seventeen pints of water in eight hours.

Thornton suffered from gingivitis, a gum condition, and, apparently, found that drinking a large amount of water relieved his symptoms. The massive consumption which brought about his death followed a particularly severe attack. After collapsing and being admitted to hospital he was found to have a very low sodium level in his blood and, in spite of efforts to increase it, he died of a heart attack a day after admission.

And why is this story in 'Substance Abuse News'? Because a number of the deaths attributed to ecstasy are thought to be the result of misunderstanding the advice to users to stay hydrated but these deaths are, usually, cited as being due to ecstasy. Recognition by an inquest jury that excessive drinking of water can cause death may be a small step to a realistic assessment of the harm arising from ecstasy use.