Pubdate: Fri, 08 May 2009
Source: Airdrie City View (CN AB)
Copyright: 2009 Airdrie City View Ltd.
Author: Stacie Snow
Bookmark: (Ecstasy)


Three ecstasy deaths and several close calls in Alberta haven't 
deterred local teens from using the drug.

At just $5 a pill, the drug promises a cheap and easy way to loosen 
up, but it nearly cost one Airdrie girl her life.

On May 1 at about midnight, Airdrie RCMP assisted Airdrie Emergency 
Services (AES) in an emergency response to a 17-yearold female who 
overdosed on methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), commonly known as ecstasy.

The teenager ingested four tablets in a relatively short period of 
time prior to attending a dance at George McDougall High School. The 
drug is often used before a party or dance, and causes users to lose 
their inhibitions. In this case the tablets were white and had the 
Transformers logo stamped on each of them.

"The individuals who manufacture these products gear them 
specifically to target children," said Airdrie RCMP Cst. Francine Hennelly.

"They have everything from the McDonald's logo to Nike and Lululemon."

AES and RCMP were contacted when the victim began to display symptoms 
consistent with an overdose. The girl was transported to a Calgary 
hospital in stable condition.

"The results of using this type of drug can be devastating," said Hennelly.

Recent incidents of ecstasy use and overdose have occurred near 
Edmonton, where three females recently died as a result of ingesting 
ecstasy. Two girls passed away after taking the drug on Paul Band 
First Nation, located 60 km west of Edmonton, and a third took the 
drug at West Edmonton Mall.

"Given the dosage of ecstasy that was taken in this incident, it is 
very fortunate that this female sought medical treatment and that her 
situation did not become life threatening," said Hennelly.

MDMA is a synthetic, psychoactive drug that is chemically similar to 
the stimulant methamphetamine and the hallucinogen mescaline. It 
produces an energizing effect as well as feelings of euphoria, 
emotional warmth and distortions in time perception and tactile experiences.

"Although the drug may sound appealing, we are encouraging any 
teenager to have the confidence to say no to their peers," said 
Hennelly. "It takes courage and strength to say no but your safety 
depends on it."

MDMA can be dangerous to overall health and even lethal. MDMA can 
have many of the same side effects as other stimulants such as 
cocaine and amphetamines. These include increased heart rate and 
blood pressure and other symptoms such as muscle tension, involuntary 
teeth clenching, nausea, blurred vision, faintness and chills or sweating.

In high doses MDMA is much more dangerous. The drug can interfere 
with the body's ability to regulate temperature. In rare, but 
unpredictable occasions, this can lead to a sharp increase in body 
temperature (hyperthermia), which can result in liver, kidney and 
cardiovascular system failure and death. MDMA can interfere with its 
own metabolism (breakdown within the body); therefore potentially 
harmful levels can be reached through repeated use within a short 
period of time.

Hennelly encourages parents to educate themselves about drugs.

"Parents do your homework and be knowledgeable so you can provide 
your children with the right answers," she said.

"Know what to look for if your kids are using and be the parent with 
the open door policy so your kids can feel comfortable coming to you 
if they are faced with those tough decisions."

If you are a local teenager who needs help there are many resources 
available in Airdrie such as Community Links, Airdrie & District 
Victims Assistance Society, AADAC and the Children's Help Line.

The police investigation into this incident is ongoing and no charges 
have been laid.
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