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Teenage Ecstasy Use is on the Rise in the U.S.

Update Date: Dec 04, 2013 10:35 AM EST

MDMA, which is known as Ecstasy in pill form and Molly in powder form, is a drug that can create euphoria, reduce anxiety, and increase a sense of intimacy with others. According to a new federal report, ecstasy use by U.S. teenagers is on the rise as the number of emergency rooms visits due to the drug has more than doubled within the past few years.

"This should be a wake-up call to everyone, but the problem is much bigger than what the data show," Steve Pasierb, president and CEO of The Partnership at Drugfree.org, said according to Medical Xpress. "These are only the cases that roll into the emergency rooms. It's just the tip of the iceberg."

The report calculated that from 2005 to 2011, the number of emergency room visits related to MDMA increased by 128 percent in people under the age of 21. During that time frame, the number of hospital visits rose from 4,500 to over 10,000. The researchers found that in one-third of the cases, alcohol was a contributing factor. When Ecstasy is mixed with alcohol, the feelings of euphoria is extended which could influence teenagers to drink more and lose track of how much alcohol they had consumed. Intoxication could then lead to poor decisions.

"We've had this six-year quiet lull, and now we've got a whole new generation of young people who are being marketed a new product under the name 'Molly,'" Pasierb said. Ecstasy use spiked between 1999 and 2001 when it entered the club scene. The use of the drug declined however after the drug was tied to causing deaths.

The researchers reasoned that Molly could pose a greater threat to teenagers and young adults. Since Molly is sold in powdered form, it could be more easily tampered with. The researchers used data provided by the Drug Abuse Warning Network, which is a public health surveillance system that tracks hospital visits and deaths due to drugs. The U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration released the report.

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