Is there such a thing as a safe dose of Ecstasy?

Is there such a thing as a safe dose of Ecstasy? No there isn't.

There has been a lot of talk lately about the deaths of B.C. young people who have used the synthetic drug Ecstasy. One of the questions people often ask is, “Would I be okay if I took a safe dosage?”

The answer is no.

“I think a lot of users often associate safe Ecstasy with a good batch of the drug. However, there is no such thing as a good batch because the synthetic drug is produced in places with no sanitation or quality control,” said Cpl. Jamie Chung of Coquitlam RCMP. “The drug may go by the name of Ecstasy but the users have no way to know exactly what they are taking. Poisonous ingredients and contaminants are often found in the drug. It is important for both parents and youths to recognize the danger and symptoms associating to taking Ecstasy.”

The following is a school newsletter written by Cst. Erin McAvoy of Coquitlam RCMP’s School Liaison Unit, and Karen O’Brien and Alison Shields of SHARE Family and Community Services about Ecstasy:

Substance use and youths are always a relevant topic. The recent media attention around Ecstasy provides a catalyst to initiate and continue conversations regarding substance use and its impact. SHARE Family and Community Services, Coquitlam RCMP School Liaison and School District #43 encourage adults to talk with youths about how they make the choice as to what they will or will not put into their bodies.

There is value in talking openly with youths about drugs and alcohol. Adults can be an important role model and asset for youths.  It’s important to keep the lines of communication open.  Conversations are opportunities to listen and better understand youths’ thoughts, beliefs and feelings. By investing the time and energy into “two way” communication, we establish opportunities for discussion and can open the door for future conversations.  Take advantage of “teachable moments” to discuss drugs and alcohol use.  Teachable moments can happen while driving in the car, at the dinner table, watching TV, social media or current events, such as the recent attention to Ecstasy. The more you communicate with youths, the more comfortable they will likely feel in approaching you.

It is significant to consider where youths go to find information on substances and to encourage them to critically assess this information whether it comes from friends, websites or other sources. When youths are able to access accurate information on drugs and alcohol, they are empowered to make decisions that are best for them.

In light of the recent media coverage here are some useful facts about Ecstasy:

· Ecstasy (“E” or “Caps”)  is almost always a combo drug. It may contain meth, coke, ketamine, DMP, and TFMPP (“Legal X”) or PMA.

· Often sold in cap form, Ecstasy comes in different shapes, sizes and colours that are stamped with a logo or design.

·  The effects can be felt within 20-40 minutes after consumption and the high lasts between four and six hours.

· As with any substance, the affect depends on: age, body weight, how much is taken and how often, the method of taking the substance, the environment you’re in, whether you have any pre-existing medical or psychiatric conditions and whether you have consumed alcohol or other drugs.

· Short term effects of Ecstasy, a stimulant drug, include: feelings of pleasure and wellbeing, increased sociability, feeling full of energy, increased heart rate, blurred vision, jaw clenching, sweating and hallucinations.

· Long term effects and withdrawal symptoms can include: depression, anxiety, paranoia, panic attacks, change in sleep patterns, nausea, hallucinations, chills and sweating.

In holding open conversations and accessing accurate information, youths are supported to make decisions that make them feel happy, healthy and proud of whom they are.

Here are some recommended websites:

*Article courtesy of  BC Media and Coquitlam RCMP.