Truth About Adam Essay, Research Paper
The Truth About Adam
It’s Friday night and you have nothing to do. You’re putting your schoolbooks away and you notice a flyer that you received earlier today. It says: “Spectacular Laser Light Show…Dance ALL night long to the newest trance songs in the industry.” You decide to check it out and after asking a few people of the location of this dance party you find yourself in front of an abandoned warehouse. You walk in and the sound is blaring and the laser lights you read about are moving to the music. You walk around for a while to see what the all hype is about. You’re walking along and you bump into someone. You look up to apologize and the person is smiling at you and says, “It’s okay, you’re great.” And as the person’s leaving he holds your arm and keeps walking and lets go when the distance between you and him keeps him from holding on. You don’t think anything of it and keep walking. Finally you see someone you know, it’s the friend that gave you the flyer. You approach her to say hello and like the previous person she’s smiling away and she’s sucking on a pacifier. She approaches you and immediately starts hugging you and telling you how happy she is that you’re there. She asks, “Are you rolling?” and not knowing what “rolling” is you say no. She proceeds to pull a bag out of her brightly colored purse and says, “Here, have a pill…on me.” She gives you a tiny pill, smaller than an aspirin, white with a little red heart. “Go ahead, take it! It’s makes you feel sooo good,” she says to you as she rubs against you as if she were a cat.
Many people, both young and old, are confronted with this situation or one similar to this one. The results of a situation like the above one are pretty much 50/50. Either the person takes the pill or they don’t. Some do and never do it again. While others continue to take it on a weekly basis. Ecstasy has become a very popular designer drug in the United States, but many of the users of this drug have little to no knowledge of what it really is, how it affects them and what dangers they can run into when they use this drug.
Ecstasy is one of the many names for the drug called MDMA (3,4-Methylenedioxy-methamphetamine). This drug, which is very similar to another drug, methamphetamine, or speed, is also known as X, XTC, E, or Adam (Clayton 18). Many people take ecstasy and don’t even know what it contains. Half the time it may not even contain MDMA at all. Investigators from the University of California-San Francisco have been conducting a new study on the pills. They found that out of 107 pills of ecstasy, sixty-three percent actually contained MDMA. Twenty-nine percent contained a drug, but no MDMA. Most of the pills had very high dosages of a drug called dextromethorphan. Dextromethorphan is the cough suppressant found in many over the counter cough medicines. The rest of the pills contained caffeine, ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, and salicylates (“Ecstasy”). Those aren’t the only things found in ecstasy, however. Some dealers put other things like baking soda and sugar in the pills (Clayton 16). Or on a rare occasion someone might put LSD, heroin or speed just so they can sell the pills at a higher price (Alvergue 22).
Ecstasy wasn’t always a club drug. It was actually first developed in Germany in 1914 as a diet suppressant but the drug was never really used or tested (Clayton 16). In 1965, a chemist named Alexander Shulgin recreated the drug in the United States. Since it was not an illegal drug for peopled to use, psychotherapists began to use ecstasy on their patients. The drug helped their patients open up and speak freely about their problems. The patient’s ability to communicate and in the manner that they did so was compared to that of “Adam’s innocent and blissful state in the biblical Garden of Eden before he ate the forbidden fruit from the Tree of Knowledge.” That is how the drug received its first name, Adam (Alvergue 14-15).
In the 1980’s some drug manufacturers heard about the drug and its euphoric affects and they began producing the drug. The manufacturers introduced the drug in a few Texas bars. The bars would give the drug with the alcohol they sold. Soon the demand for ecstasy grew and the supply grew with it. Then in 1985, MDMA was classified as a Schedule I drug. A Schedule I drugs is a drug that can be highly abused and has no medical use, much like heroin and LSD (Alvergue 15). That year the United States then made the selling, possession and making of ecstasy illegal (Clayton 16).
Ecstasy begins to affect a person within thirty minutes to an hour and the “roll,” or high, can last up to six hours. It can affect someone in many different ways, but the most common side effects include such things as nausea, vomiting, dehydration, hallucination, double vision and the shakes. It can also cause rapid changes in one’s blond pressure and heart rate. Clenching of the teeth is often experienced during the high, which explains the reason for the pacifiers and hard candy that pill-takers carry around with them. After the high wears off the person becomes exhausted and depressed. They become very apathetic and this state of being can last from days to weeks after the high (Clayton 18).
The reason why people are very affectionate and open while on the drug, like in the situation described earlier, is because of the way the brain handles the drug. MDMA increases the amount of serotin that your brain produces. Serotin is a chemical that regulates your mood and it triggers feelings of love and excitement. Normally, when the brain produces serotin, it is produced, used and stored quickly. When a person takes ecstasy, their brain over produces the chemical and forces the brain to have that “feel-good” high for as long as six hours. The drug prevents the serotin from returning to storage. After the six hour high the serotin leaves, the “feel-good” high is gone and now the person will feel tired, depressed, and unable to focus (Alvergue 27). Some tests have proven that after taking MDMA, the brain does not produce the same amount of serotin as it would before having taken MDMA. Test showed that the levels are generally lower than that of a person who has never taken ecstasy (Cloud, et al).
It’s pretty safe to say that with any illegal drug there will always be dangers. Some people have actually died of heart attacks and strokes after taking ecstasy (Clayton 18). If someone overdoses on ecstasy or takes more than their body can handle it can cause them to continuously vomit, hyperventilate or pass out. The most common reasons for death or complications from taking ecstasy are over heating or heatstroke. MDMA increases a person’s body temperature. When a person takes ecstasy they are able to dance for a longer period of time, causing their body temperature to rise. Combine the rising temperature from dancing and the rising temperature from the drug itself and you get serious implications. There are other dangers, however, caused by ecstasy. Because ecstasy heightens emotions and allows a person to be more amiable than normal, these feelings can cause a person to act out intimate actions with a total stranger. Even worse, someone can take advantage of a person who has taken a pill, which can possibly lead to STD’s (Alvergue 38-41).
Of course, the more obvious danger to doing ecstasy is jail time. Since it is illegal to posses, sell or take the drug. If you get caught with one of these little pills, you can get arrested. Since 1997 the government has been trying to put a stop to the distribution of ecstasy. Although more and more people use the drug, the government has been slowing down the distribution of the drug. In 1997 a mere 400,000 pills were confiscated. In 2000, 9.3 million pills were confiscated (Ragavan). The reason for the increase in confiscated pills may be because of a higher supply, but the government has also found other means of stopping the drugs distribution. For example, some local governments have shut down many clubs where the drug is often sold.
Perhaps if people were more educated on the effects of the drug- physical, mental, or social- maybe there wouldn’t be such a high usage of it. Just knowing that there can be unknown drugs within that drugs is enough to make someone stop and think. If our friend from before had been educated about the drug that was being offered to him/her, maybe he/she would be able to answer a quick “No” when asked: “Wanna roll with me?”
Alvergue, Anne. Ecstasy: The Danger of False Euphoria. New York: Rosen, 1998.
Clayton, Lawrence. Designer Drugs. New York: Rosen, 1998.
Cloud, John, et al. “The lure of ecstasy.” Time. 5 June 2000: p62. Academic Search Elite. FirstSearch. Seminole Community College. 18 March 2001.
“Ecstasy may contain MDMA and other drugs.” Psychopharmacology Update. January 2001: p3. Academic Search Elite. FirstSearch. Seminole Community College. 18 March 2001.
Ragavan, Chitra. “Cracking down on ecstasy.” US News & World Report. 5 February 2001: p14. Academic Search Elite. FirstSearch. Seminole Community College. 18 March 2001.