Pubdate: Fri, 03 Dec 2004
Source: Orillia Today (CN ON)
Copyright: 2004, Metroland Printing, Publishing and Distributing
Author: Janis Leering
Bookmark: (Ecstasy)
Bookmark: (Youth)


While Simcoe County is by no means a focal point for the 'rave' culture, 
there is no shortage of the drugs associated with the parties, notes 
Stephen Meredith.

Meredith, with the Centre For Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, 
recently visited Midland to warn county health professionals about the 
dangers of Ecstasy and other drugs, during a presentation sponsored by 
Think Clear.

Meredith outlined the common myths and realities of party drugs with 
pharmacists, police, lab technicians and youth workers.

"We are hoping to share information with the community and while Ecstasy 
was not identified as a particular problem here, it's something they should 
know about," he said.

Meredith said Ecstasy is a coloured pill commonly found at club parties in 
Toronto, but said levels of drug use don't differ across the province, 
which means it is being used in this area, too.

"If there's no club scene here, kids are taking the drugs at bush parties 
or house parties."

He said teens' perception is that Ecstasy, also called 'E', isn't a hard drug.

"People think it's risk-free and they just want to have a good time with it.

"They do think it's different than cocaine, and it may be in some senses, 
but there are still people who have died after taking the pill."

Meredith said teens taking Ecstasy may also decide to drink, or smoke 
marijuana while at a party.

"Poly drug use is a huge issue, it's as if people are becoming 
self-pharmacists, deciding how much to take and when they should take it."

He said Ecstasy, or Methylene DioxyMethAmphetamine (MDMA) was made as far 
back as 1912 and was tested by the United States army intelligence in 1953, 
to try and disorient enemy troops. But it was discontinued after a death 

In the 1980s, it made a comeback as Ecstasy, even though it was restricted 
in Canada, and Meredith said very little is known about the long-term 
effects of the drug.

Ecstasy is a man-made drug that usually contains MDMA, and it can contain 
caffeine, codeine, cocaine and other drugs or impurities that can make 
harmful combinations.

The small pills, with different logos stamped onto them, are usually sold 
for $15 to $20, and it is seen as a social drug that enhances the senses.

"It heightens your inhibitions. It's 60 per cent a stimulant, and 40 per 
cent a hallucigen, and it makes someone feel like they're on cloud nine," 
said Det. Const. Rick Dupuis, with the Huronia Combined Forces Drug Unit.

"The speaker was talking about raves in the city and we don't experience 
that here (in Simcoe County) because of our population base.

"But it is in the area. On Nov. 12, in Wasaga Beach, we went into a 'flop' 
house, where there was E, marijuana and cocaine."

Dupuis said he has seen Ecstasy in Simcoe County only for the past three 
years but as a police officer, it has been hard to investigate.

"Most of the youth involved are aged 14 to 22 years old, so it's not like 
we can blend in with them for an (undercover) investigation."

Dupuis said parents play an important role to cracking down on club drugs.

"E is just like marijuana, where parental supervision is important. Parents 
should know who their children are hanging out with, and where they are going."

For example, Dupuis said a 13 year old was visiting the Wasaga Beach home 
at 11 p.m. and that shouldn't happen.

"Being a good parent is no guarantee, but you should have an idea where 
your child is."

The E and other Club Drugs presentation was sponsored by Think Clear, a 
group of Simcoe County partners who want to bring awareness to drug and 
alcohol issues to the community.

The 150 guests were given a copy of a new pamphlet on Ecstasy that was 
created to educate parents and students about the drug.

"This is the only resource for E for young people," said Velma Shewfelt, 
project co-ordinator of Think Clear.

The book was designed by graphic design students at Georgian College, with 
basic information about Ecstasy, and it is now available at local health 
unit offices across the county.
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