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The drug ecstasy has been highly debated over the last thirty years. It is a class A drug and poses a large threat to health. This essay is going to show the history of the drug, why young people take it, the health risks, the legal implications and how to alert young people to the dangers of ecstasy.

The drug was first discovered by the Merck pharmaceutical company and then was patented as an appetite suppressant. It was then mostly forgotten about until 1953 when it and seven other psychedelics were tested by the US army. It was used for medical purposes throughout the seventies to help with marriage counselling and psychotherapy. It was later banned after research on animals in the US proved it to be a threat to health.


The drug is widely associated with raves which first started in London during the mid eighties. A rave is an all night dance that serves no alcohol, those who go are expected to dance for almost non-stop for eight to twelve hours. As ecstasy produces a lot of energy it is thought by many to have been specifically designed for raves.

Young people take the drug because the price is now as cheap as five pounds a tablet. The image of being safe is another main reason that young people take the drug.

Although the image of being safe couldn’t be further from the truth as ecstasy can not only irritate other diseases but also cause new ones. One of the main dangers of ecstasy is that it causes a rush in serotonin that the brain is unable to make up, this causes a permanent decrease in brain activity. Some of the short term effects of taking ecstasy include confusion, depression, sleep problems, drug craving, anxiety, paranoia, muscle tension, nausea, blurred vision, chills, faintness, sweating, high blood pressure, rashes and involuntary teeth clenching. The more severe effects can include internal bleeding, heart attacks, strokes, dehydration, hyperthermia, kidney failure and death.

Although there are more than just health risks to ecstasy, there are also severe legal consequences for possessing and dealing in the drug. As Ecstasy is a class A drug you can receive up to seven years for possessing the drug and up to life in prison for dealing in the drug.

How young people can be alerted to the dangers of ecstasy is a question that many people are finding hard to answer. Exactly how many ways to alert people is very limited as nobody listens to overtones. Some leaflets have been heavily criticized for actually encouraging the use of ecstasy. As ecstasy has only been around for the last twenty years as an illegal drug, some of the long-term effects are still not known so publishers are reluctant to publish effects that are yet to be proven.

The reason for this is that the same thing happened in the eighties and the public stopped listening to the warnings. Now to alert young people to the dangers of ecstasy, leaflets about the dangers are distributed in raves and also people are searched going into raves to try to stop the dealers smuggling the drug in. A way of measuring how well the leaflets are working is by how many are left behind after a rave, if there is a lot on the floor then the leaflet needs to be rethought but if there are very few then it is usually working.

In conclusion, due to the severe side effects, the drug ecstasy has correctly received a class A rating. Also the anti-drugs associations are going the right way to reduce ecstasy users.

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Kylie Garcia

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