Ecstasy Related Hospital Visits Have More Than Doubled Over Past Six Years, Are Musicians to Blame?
Ecstasy use is getting stronger amongst young partiers, and it's sending them to the hospital at increasing rates.
According to a new report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), young people's trips to the emergency department due to Ecstasy use increased 128 percent between 2005 and 2011. The hallucinogenic drug, also known as Molly, sent 4,460 people under the age of 21 to the hospital in 2005. By 2011, that number more than doubled to 10,176.
As Ecstasy use grows, the drug has becoming increasingly glamorized by music, the two most likely feeding off one another.
In Miley Cyrus' summer hit, "We Can't Stop," the then-20-year-old sings "We like to party/Dancing with Molly" as a subtle way of saying she likes dancing under the influence of the drug. In 2012, Trinidad James released "All Gold Everything," where he boasts "Popped a Molly/I'm Sweating, Woo!" The song has since spurred many memes and pop culture references.
Years before these songs became popular, the drug was known to be used recreationally at concerts and festivals and sometimes caused fatalities. A recent death, however, has publicized Ecstasy more than ever.
In August of this year, two people died at Electric Zoo, an electronic music festival in New York City. According to the New York Post, one of the attendees died after ingesting "six hits of Molly" and suffering a seizure.
Ecstasy (3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine) serves as both a stimulant and a hallucinogenic and thus makes users feel energetic and euphoric. According to the report, Ecstasy use combined with underage drinking is common. Between 2005 and 2011, 33 percent of Ecstasy-related emergency room visits paid by people younger than 21 also involved alcohol. SAMHSA reports that alcohol combined with Ecstasy makes the latter's affects last longer and increases the risk of abuse.
"These findings raise concerns about the increase in popularity of this potentially harmful drug, especially in young people," Dr. Peter Delany, Director of SAMHSA's Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, said in the report. "Ecstasy is a street drug that can include other substances that can render it even more potentially harmful. We need to increase awareness about this drug's dangers and take other measures to help prevent its use."
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