Pubdate: Fri, 20 Aug 2010
Source: Jamaica Observer (Jamaica)
Copyright: 2010 The Jamaica Observer Ltd,
Author: Corey Robinson, Observer Staff Reporter


RISE Life Management Services, the non-governmental organisation that
works with at-risk youth in Kingston's inner cities, has expressed
concern about the increase use of the 'party' drug ecstasy.

Although only one case of addiction has been treated thus far, Richard
Henry, co-ordinator of counselling services at the non-profit
organisation, said the usage of the contraband is growing rapidly.

"We have not seen many cases coming to us, but I was a part of a group
recently and that is one of the things we saw coming out of that
discussion," Henry told this week's Observer Monday Exchange at the
newspaper's headquarters in Kingston.

"It's mostly used at parties and in the go-go clubs because it gives
the user the impression or illusion that they can dance all night
long," added Henry.

"It is very dangerous but you might use it and nothing happens to you
but it might be different for another person," he told Observer
reporters and editors.

According to Henry, ecstasy is extremely expensive, but persons who
are able to lay their hands on it often capitalise on its
effectiveness as a 'date-rape' drug.

He made mention of a young man who told him he had planned on
"dropping a young lady an ecstasy [tablet] in her cup at a recently
held party".

Senior Superintendent of Police Carlton Wilson, former head of the
Narcotics Division, could not, however, confirm the usage of ecstasy
as a 'date-rape' drug, but agreed with Henry about its growing
prevalence in Jamaica.

"It's very prevalent. It is really a party drug and persons,
especially teens and those in the night-clubs and sessions, use it to
give them a boost of energy," Wilson said.

"It turns up mostly in Jamaica during the Spring Break season when you
have many teens coming from abroad to the island," he continued.

Wilson said the drug -- which is sold for upwards of US$20 -- often
reaches Jamaican shores from Holland, and is in many cases smuggled in
among other legal tablets. That makes it even harder to detect, he

"It takes training and sensitisation, and people at the ports are not
trained to identify these drugs because they come in varying forms,
and are normally mixed among other legitimate pills," Wilson said.

He added also that persons who are found in possession of ecstasy in
Jamaica many times "get just a slap on the wrist, because of the lack
of legislation to adequately deal with it".

Ecstasy, or its scientific name Methylenedioxymethamphetamine, is a
stimulant drug, which causes its user to feel energetic for several

Also called E, X, disco biscuits, doves, diamonds, fantasy or XTC, the
drug is normally sold as a round flat tablet and comes in a variety of
colours, more commonly white, with small motifs embossed on one side.

Ecstasy is most commonly swallowed but is sometimes smoked, snorted,
or injected, and can lead to panic attacks, depression, anxiety,
stiffness of the body and paranoia.

It can also cause a rise in body temperature and could result in its
user having a heatstroke. 
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