Ecstasy use is rising among teens and young adults, causing a significant increase in emergency room visits by users of the street drug, a new federal study shows.
Hospital emergency department visits involving ecstasy increased from 10,222 in 2004 to 17,865 in 2008, a 74.8% increase
Most of these emergency room visits (69.3%) involved patients between 18 and 29; 17.9% of those seeking help in ERs were between 12 and 17, according to the report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
Ecstasy can produce psychedelic and stimulant side effects, including anxiety attacks, hypertension, hyperthermia and rapid heart beat, called tachycardia. Such adverse reactions can increase when ecstasy is used, as it often is, along with alcohol or other substances of abuse, according to researchers.
SAMHSA says 77.8% of the emergency department visits involving ecstasy also involved the use of at least one other substance of abuse.