After reading the first post of this thead, I kind of have to smile to myself at the irony. Here you are stating how dangerous illicit drug use amongst teenagers is, and then you state that you prefer to go "driving", which, in the US at least (rebuttle fot the UK to follow), actually has a much higher mortality rate than "raving". I personally perscribe to the Darwinian belief of "survival of the fittest". I therefore have no more problem with people that do drugs (as long as they don't injur/kill anyone else in the process)that with people who ride motorcycles without helmets, drive without seatbelts, or dive headfirst into shallow swimming pools.
Nonetheless, as a doctor I feel it's my duty to inform those that would partake that ecstacy is not a benign drug. Here's a excerpt from a review article from the journal "Pediatrics", Vol. 100, No. 4, 10/97 (If you want the complete article feel free to email me)
"The drug 3,4 methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), also known as "ecstasy," is a "designer" drug that is becoming popular with American adolescents at dance halls known as "raves" and on college campuses. An analogue of amphetamine, MDMA shares properties with both amphetamine and hallucinogenic drugs. Now available in many US cities, MDMA has an undeserved reputation for safety and a long duration of action. The drug appeals to young people, who believe that it enhances empathy and closeness to others. Common short-term adverse effects of MDMA include sweating, tachycardia, fatigue, and muscle spasms, including jaw-clenching. Serious adverse effects from MDMA include serious or fatal heat injury, fluid and electrolyte depletion, and central nervous system, cardiac, muscular, renal, and hepatic dysfunction. MDMA has been implicated in at least 53 deaths in the United Kingdom and at least five more deaths in the United States, mainly attributable to profound disturbances in thermoregulation (heatstroke). MDMA is a selective serotonergic neurotoxin. "Herbal ecstasy" containing ephedrine ( Herba ephedrae) and other herbs, can be purchased by mail. Several toxicology screening tests for the amphetamine class of drugs of abuse can detect MDMA, but at about 50% reduced sensitivity. Treatment of acute toxic reactions includes rapid cooling and rehydration, monitoring electrolytes, and organ dysfunction. Because current national and state surveys show a significant increase in use of this drug, physicians in primary care, emergency medicine, critical care medicine, and addiction medicine can be expected to manage an occasional patient with acute MDMA toxicity..."
and this from a more recent article in "Lancet" (10/9/99;354(9186):1265-6)
"We provide a 25-fold range for the ecstacy-related death rate per 10,000 15-24-year-old users in the UK: from 0.2 to 5.3, compared with the death rate of 1.0 from road traffic accidents in the same age-group. The heroin-related death rate in 15-24-year-old heroin users was much higher, but also imprecisely estimated: from 9.1 to 81.5 deaths per 10,000 15-24-year-old users. Data deficiencies which inhibit the calculation of drug-specific rates in this population should be remedied..."
And from what I've seen the situation is getting worse here in the states as well. In fact, just a month ago we had 4 college students in the ER who had mistakely overdosed on another "designer" drug called GHB (gamma-hydroxy-butarate), a very potent agonist of gaba receptors in the brain. In small amounts it has depressive effects similar to alcohol. But because illegal drugs tend to come in non-standardized dosing, these 4 got a batch that was particularly strong. We were able to save two of them, but the other two died.
Simply a waste... and I can't even invoke Darwinian theory because one of two that lived had apparently spiked the drinks of the other three...