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Out of reality You feel like you are in a dream. Everyone is your friend. You can feel a special spirit surrounding you. It keeps you going all night and makes you feel like you are on top of a mountain with a 10 km untracked descent in front of you, and no boundaries. It was created in Germany in 1898. It was marketed in 1914 as an appetite suppressant and was used by First World War soldiers. In its pure form it is called MDMA, but on the street it’s more commonly known as ecstasy. Ecstasy became popular in the ’70s and ’80s for both recreational and therapeutic use. Marriage counselors were using it with clients in order to break down hostility, until it was made an illegal substance. But as everyone knows, illegal doesn’t mean unavailable. Ecstasy has since become linked with youths and raves. The first rave was held in the Netherlands in 1987. They quickly spread to England and then many other countries, including Canada. Jen spoke about the effects of ecstasy. Jen is a youth with hands-on expertise on the subject. She described the feeling of ecstasy as being out of reality, in a dream — but there are also many negative effects, such as short-term memory loss, blurred vision and possibly vomiting. Ecstasy is a central nervous system stimulant, and although it may not be physically addictive, it can be strongly psychologically addictive. There can be many different kinds of ecstasy, and it can be mixed with many different substances, such as LSD, heroin, speed and cocaine. This greatly varies the effect of the drug, creating feelings of high energy or extreme relaxation. The negative effects can also be extremely varied and unexpected. It’s a good idea to know what you are getting, but there are no guarantees. Ecstasy can be very risky and possibly life threatening. Higher does also greatly intensify the negative effects, including distortion in thinking, perception or memory. It may produce psychosis, paranoia, hallucinations, long-lasting bouts of anxiety or depression. Jen noted you can feel peaceful and relaxed but afterwards you may suffer from panic or anxiety attacks. Your energy and feeling of well being are greatly increased by ecstasy, but the next day brings aching bones and muscles, grinding teeth and jaw pain and stomach pain. There have also been fatal incidents associated with ecstasy, including kidney, heart and liver failure due to high body temperature, dehydration and failure to drink enough fluids. Ecstasy should definitely not be used if you have any of the following health problems: diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure, heart condition or liver trouble. It should also not be taken with any pharmaceutical drugs, including asprin, Tylenol, Ibuprofen, anti-inflammatories, cold and flu medications. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports recent evidence suggesting continued use of ecstasy can result in "damage to the brain in ways that interfere with normal learning and memory," resulting in persistent problems in remembering what is seen and heard. These memory problems appear to be related to the damage ecstasy does to particular brain cells that use the chemical serotonin for communication. In one reported study using animals, there was a 90 per cent loss in the ability of cells to accumulate or uptake serotonin. Another study reported a 30 per cent decrease in serotonin levels in regular ecstasy users. This article isn’t about preaching to you or telling you what you should and should not be doing. This is from a group of people who are concerned about what is going on and the message here is to be careful about what you are taking and getting; you can never be certain. In the following couple of weeks there will be other articles relating individuals’ personal experiences with ecstasy.