From Rave to the Grave, by Charles Maddox


In the most recent aftermath of three overdose deaths on a drug named Ecstasy, I felt it was about time to write an article on the drug itself. If you have been watching the TV news, you might have noticed that a young man and a young woman lost their lives at a festival in new York and a girl, only 21 years old, from new Hampshire in the period of about a week also overdosed and died. This drug is gaining popularity all over the United States.

The drug is called “Molly” or “Dancing with Mister E.” It is a member of a chemical family known as phenethylamines, and you will find it at “RAVE” parties. The drug includes a string of similar compounds such as MDA, MMDA, and MDEA and are chemically related to both amphetamines and the hallucinogen mescaline.

They are not as new as you might think. MDA earned its counter-culture stripes and its “love drug” reputation in the 1960s and 70s, due to the mild sensual arousal and euphoria it produces at low dosage levels.

MDMA came next. First synthesized in 1914, it was little more than a forgotten formula in a research lab until it broke out onto the street in the 1970s. Interest in this drug back then was so scarce that the government didn’t even bother outlawing it.

Then came the 1980s and ecstasy became the gotta-try-it drug of that decade–and the next.

Skyrocketing use and early rumors of possible MDMA-related brain changes convinced the U. S. Drug Enforcement Administration to ban the drug in July 1985. MDEA followed in 1987.

Today, both drugs are listed as Schedule I controlled substances. That means that they–like heroin, LSD, and marijuana–have no recognized legitimate uses and are illegal under all circumstances. Research came to a fast halt and stayed that way until 2004. In 2004 a researcher from the United States was granted authorization to study the potential value of MDMA as a potential treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The drug has made a big impact on our culture and is very controversial. Therapists say it boosts insight and aids communication without the freaky unpredictable twists and turns of LSD and other hallucinogens.

Ecstasy’s chemical name is N –- methyl – 3,4 – methylenodioxy amphetamine and is still being researched and reported on in medical journals. It is a hallucinogenic amphetamine.

Researchers say it may damage receptor sites in the brain for the key neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin is connected to every cell in the brain and is the brain’s peacekeeper. It allows our drive to live in harmony.

Ecstasy wasn’t even illegal until 1985, but laws against MDMA and its chemical cousins have pushed the drug underground—and its price up.

Ecstasy is on and in a lot of people’s minds today. Over the years it has been sold in powder, tablet, or capsule form and can be inhaled, injected, or swallowed. When taken, there is a significant increase in body temperature (hyperthermia), which causes an incredible thirst, leading to muscle breakdown and cardiovascular system failure. Death from heart attach or stroke is also possible.

Please stay away from this drug. It is illegal and unhealthy and has the potential to kill.

Charles F. Maddox, II, President, Founder, and Chairman of the Board of  Drug and Alcohol Presentations, Inc.
Charleston, West Virginia