Pubdate: Wed, 01 Aug 2001
Source: Kansas City Star (MO)
Copyright: 2001 The Kansas City Star
Author: Kevin Murphy, The Kansas City Star


WASHINGTON -- White House drug-policy makers agreed with Kansas City area 
officials Tuesday that people knew too little about Ecstasy, a potentially 
dangerous drug that is growing in popularity among teen-agers.

U.S. Rep. Sam Graves, a Tarkio Republican, set up a video conference 
Tuesday between the Office of National Drug Control Policy in Washington 
and a group of law enforcement and education officials in Kansas City.

"I am concerned that there simply is not enough information available to 
parents and teens about the dangers of Ecstasy," Graves said. "Ecstasy 
offers all of us, including law enforcement and community leaders, many new 

Ecstasy comes in pill form and can be passed off as candy at a party or 
other public setting. It acts as a stimulant, is hallucinogenic and can 
cause brain and heart damage, health experts said. Possession is illegal.

Graves is a co-sponsor of legislation to ensure adequate funding of 
programs to fight the Ecstasy problem. A Senate committee held a hearing on 
the topic Monday.

"We need a comprehensive approach -- research, prevention, treatment and 
law enforcement," Edward H. Jurith, acting director of the Office of 
National Drug Control Policy, said Tuesday at the conference. "It's really 
a challenge."

The office's efforts to curb the use of Ecstasy include public-service 
announcements, Web site information, satellite broadcasts and briefings of 
entertainment writers and producers.

Graves said his main goal was to spread awareness about the drug, which one 
school official said Tuesday was a mystery to parents.

"Parents are very uneducated about Ecstasy," said Janet Nease, assistant 
principal of Park Hill High School. "They think there is a drug-free, 
alcohol-free party going on in their home, (but) this is happening right 
under their noses."

Parents are unprepared to deal with medical emergencies than can arise from 
abuse of the drug, Nease said.

Sgt. Troy Meyer of the Kansas City Police Department said Tuesday that word 
had to spread that "this is not a safe drug; it is a very, very dangerous 

The drug is not cheap, but it is profitable. Meyer has said a 250-milligram 
pill costs 20 cents to make but sells for $20 to $30.
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