Ecstasy, Ritalin are the New Drugs of Choice 

  Ecstasy, Ritalin are the New Drugs of Choice 

Posted by FoM on December 10, 2000 at 07:20:59 PT
By Teal Krech for SentinelSource  
Source: Keene Sentinel  

Today club drugs and prescription drugs are becoming the narcotics of choice for many young people. Popping ecstasy, which used to be fashionable primarily at urban rave parties, has become mainstream, and snorting Ritalin, a prescription drug, is well on its way to becoming a new fad. While the percentages of young people who use such drugs may be low, the drugs aren't hard to find at most area middle and high schools. 
On a recent day at a prime teenage hangout, Keene's skate park, four 15- and 16-year-old boys talk about the drugs they've seen at school and at parties in the Monadnock Region. Under the diffused light of a gray winter afternoon, they teens hang out on the edge of a skate ramp. Like most days, they're catching a little air in the brief window after school and before dinner. One, a flush-cheeked, brown-eyed Keene High freshman in a tweed cap, plops down, props elbows on knees, and watches his Rollerblade-clad feet roll back and forth over the ramp's slick surface. Next to him, a boy with reddish-brown hair, green eyes and a slight frame sits with his feet on his skateboard, and unconsciously rocks it side to side as he talks. "You can get just about anything you want," he says. "Speed and Ritalin, though, that's what there's the most of." "Yeah," a third one mumbled, eyes cast at his skateboard, "and, I have a friend who just got busted for coke. Six years." A 16-year-old professed dropout, he wears a black sweatshirt and black, fingerless gloves. Thinking perhaps of his 19-year-old friend who is now in jail, he pulls out a pack of Camel filters from his hip pocket, knocks out a cigarette, and lights up. Two of his companions join him. The nonsmoker, a 16-year-old sophomore, says the last two years of walking Keene High's corridors have proven that life as an upperclassman is much different from life as a middle-schooler. On a Friday afternoon a few weeks ago, he got a pass from his teacher to go to the bathroom. When he came out, the hallway was blocked. "I couldn't get back to my class. They had closed the doors," he remembers. "And, when I finally did, the teacher got mad at me." The group of teenagers chuckles ironically. It was Nov. 17, and the doors were shut because four freshman girls thought they were overdosing on ecstasy, a popular mind-altering drug. They were swiftly carted off in ambulances to Cheshire Medical Center. Police believe the girls actually took ephedrine -- an over-the-counter antihistamine -- and panicked after they felt their heart rates pick up. All four girls walked out of the hospital fine. Police sent extra pills to state labs for testing. Until the results return, which could take a few months, the suspect in the case can not be charged, Keene police detective Timothy Peloquin said. The pills "were tentatively ID'd as ephedrine by their markings and other things," Peloquin said. "But, beyond that, I can't comment because it's an open case and it's a juvenile case." Peloquin, the police department's right-hand man at the high school, handles most situations involving juveniles. Though the detective couldn't say whether the girls purchased the drugs or were given them, a 15-year-old Keene High sophomore was taken to the station that day. However, the teenager has not been charged with any crime, Peloquin said. "When certain analyses are complete, it's fairly certain that charges will be forthcoming," he said. Keene High School Principal William Savage said the event was an isolated incident. "One would have to have their head in the sand" to think there aren't drugs at the high school or in Keene, but it's not just young people who are taking them, Savage said. "We do run into marijuana or some paraphernalia, a pipe, but that's about the extent of what we see," he said. "This is a far more restrictive area than out on the streets or during the weekends. There are a couple hundred of adults in this building all of the time." From Peloquin's perspective, drug use runs in highs and lows; it's in a high right now. He's seen a lot of fads come and go, and recalls when it was all the rage to sniff carpet cleaner. What's different right now isn't so much the amount of drugs teens are taking, but the type. "A couple of years ago, crack made its debut. Nowadays, there's more club and designer drugs," he said. Specifically, ecstasy. A hallucinogenic amphetamine, ecstasy -- described by enthusiasts as "happiness in a pill" -- can be made in the kitchen, with a combination of sassafras or nutmeg oil and synthetic chemicals. The drug gained popularity in the early 1980s, and had been taken primarily at urban rave parties. Today, its enthusiasts exist outside the underground dance-scene subculture. A recent report by Partnership for a Drug-Free America found ecstasy use has doubled among teens since 1995, and one in 10 teens has experimented with the drug. "You can get anything you want at the high school," Peloquin said. "And, you can probably get everything at the middle school. Without question, getting a bag of marijuana at the middle school is no problem." The Keene High students at the skate park agree: "If you know the right people, you can get anything," the redhead says. They said they've seen coke, speed, crystal methamphetamine and ecstasy. Increase In Numbers:A study of 509 randomly selected Keene State College students reported a significant increase in the number of students who had tried ecstasy or other designer drugs in the last six years. In 1994, only one student of 509 said they had tried a designer drug, including ecstasy. Last spring, that figure shot up to more than 40 students. But, looking at the big picture, this is only a small percent of the entire college, which has 4,600 students, said Jim Matthews, special assistant to the vice president for alcohol and other drug programs at Keene State College. "The use of ecstasy has risen dramatically. I know that from research and from what students tell me," Matthews said. "But most students don't do it, and they don't get talked about. It's the others -- those who overdose and die -- who get the high profile." Dr. Mark Parker, medical director of emergency care at Cheshire Medical Center, is the one who handles the high profile, or near high profile, cases. As he puts it, Parker takes care of those who "didn't get what they bargained for, the ones who had seizures or bad trips, or somebody got scared and brought them in because they weren't acting right." He has seen an increase of patients in the past few years on ecstasy trips gone awry. In one case, a Keene State College girl was brought in last summer in a continuous seizure, he said. It took him and other emergency doctors two hours to get her out of the seizure. They put her under and got her on a respirator. Luckily, she walked out of the hospital after a couple of days in the intensive care unit. "She could have had significant brain damage," Parker said. Parker said the girl's reaction wasn't that rare, because ecstasy causes sodium levels to drop, resulting in high fevers and seizures. "The real scary part is that a certain percentage, probably below 10 percent, even in the normal dose, a certain percentage will have an idiosyncratic reaction," he said. In other words, they could end up in the hospital or worse, he said. Another drug that has recently been landing young people into Parker's care is ketamine, an anesthetic used on horses and other large animals. Over Halloween, several teenagers were brought to Cheshire Medical Center's emergency room uncontrollably drooling and sweating, he said. The drug, which goes by street name Special K, basically has the affect of getting a full-body shot of Novocaine. It induces general anesthesia while keeping its user awake. The withdrawal from Special K induces hallucinations. "That's what the kids are aiming for, the withdrawal phenomenon," Parker explained. But, sometimes the withdrawal is terrifying, unpleasant hallucinations and excessive excretions. More than being in physical danger, the teenagers were scared, and they walked out of the hospital fine, Parker said. However, in the bigger picture, the latest, trendiest way to get stoned is -- and has always been -- outranked by abuse of the age-old favorite, alcohol. Parker estimated 90 percent of emergency cases stem from alcohol abuse. Right now, he places ecstasy and ketamine in second and third places. Dr. Joseph Bergman, medical director of psychiatry at Cheshire Medical Center, counsels teenagers with behavioral and emotional problems. He said 60 percent of his patients have moderate to significant substance-abuse problems, and the majority of the abuse is alcohol- and marijuana-related. The hospital has 10 beds for overnight patients, who can stay for up to a week. "Keene's not a leader in the new experimental street drugs that come out, but we're pretty much around with the norm," Bergman said. "In terms of access and amount per population, I think we're right up there" with cities of similar sizes. Bergman said teens, like adults, turn to alcohol and marijuana first, with cocaine in close pursuit, followed by the trend of the moment. He said most drug abuse is a symptom of larger problems -- not having enough to do, wanting desperately to fit in, not getting enough from family. "A lot of them are just experimenting. And a lot want to fit in," he said. "The drug groups are accepting. They don't care if you're good-looking or if you're popular. They don't care if you're thin or fat, nice or not nice, so long as you are using. It's a place where a lot of kids who don't feel welcome otherwise feel welcome." Prescription Drugs:In the psychiatric unit, Bergman has observed an increase in the number of teenagers using drugs in the past several years -- especially prescription drugs. One trend he has noticed picking up is snorting Ritalin, a prescription drug used to treat attention deficit disorder, which, when snorted, has similar effects as speed. It increases heart rate and blood pressure. "The number of kids that are using has increased. The number of different medications kids are using has increased. They seem to be trying all different kinds. Either prices are down or kids have more money," Bergman said. In fact, Bergman said his patients have told him they also have snorted anti-depressants, and claimed it got them high, though that's not physiologically possible. Peloquin, too, has noticed an increase in Ritalin showing up in drug busts in the past year. He estimated having confiscated Ritalin five times in the past year, when the prescription drug was never seen before. "Kids with prescriptions are selling drugs," Peloquin said. "It's a national trend. It's nothing unique to Cheshire County." These reports coincide with what the teenagers at the skate park had to say: "Ritalin's the easiest to get because kids with prescriptions have it," the redhead said. Though snorting Ritalin doesn't typically land you in the emergency room -- indeed, Parker has not seen any patients on it -- the fad raises a couple of issues. One, it's illegal to possess prescription drugs without a prescription. And two: What's happening to all the students who should be taking the medication, but instead are turning a profit? "They're the ones getting suspended from school, getting in trouble and failing attendance," Bergman said. Big Worries Remain: Alcohol and Marijuana Despite the documented rise in the use of ecstasy at the college (and nationwide), and a rise in the use of heroin and cocaine, "the majority of students are not using it," Matthews said. In addition to heading alcohol and drug prevention program at the college, Matthews is a member of the adjunct faculty in the chemical dependency department, and he points to the delicate balance of informing the public about drug abuse while not exaggerating it. Last week, two major television networks, MTV and CBS, ran specials on ecstasy. "One of the problems we face is that, if we keep hitting the public with statistics of how great a problem it is, we tend to forget about the majority of students who are not using," Matthews said. That point is pivotal to preventing abuse in the first place, Matthews said. Ecstasy and other designer drugs get a high profile in the media, which may form young people's opinion of how "cool" the drugs are. "Their perception of using comes from the media. You want to educate them about the dangers and risks, but you don't want to create the perception that everyone's doing it," Matthews said. Furthermore, recipes for ecstasy are easily found on the Internet, which not only makes it easier to manufacture, but raises the issue of what ingredients are being added, "if it's being made correctly, if I could use that word," Matthews said. But, in talking about drugs, Matthews focuses on marijuana, which he categorizes as the No. 2 drug of choice, after alcohol, at Keene State College -- and a major problem for the emotional and intellectual growth of his students. "They say, well, it's natural, so it must be fine," Matthews said, but then quickly debunked the point, pointing to a study that showed 100,000 people went to rehabilitation for marijuana addiction in 1995. He said the drug stunts the learning process and emotional development of its users. "The perception is that it's not addictive. But there's enough evidence that indicates that chronic users will go through withdrawal when they stop," he said. In Matthews' view, the key to getting drug use to decline is for people to have the perception that it's dangerous. "Two things about ecstasy," Matthews said. "It's perceived as not being very dangerous. And users don't see it as being dangerous. Many people are able to use it without having anything occur. "That feeds the perception of it not being dangerous."Complete Title: Ecstasy, Ritalin are the New Drugs of Choice on the Street Source: Keene Sentinel (NH)Author: Teal Krech for SentinelSourcePublished: December 10, 2000Copyright: 2000 Keene Publishing Corporation.Address: 60 West Street, Keene, NH 03431Fax: (603) 352-0437Contact: letters keenesentinel.comWebsite: Articles: Schoolyard Hustlers' New Drug: Ritalin Easy To Get As Candy on Ritalin are Suffering Legal Drug Abuse

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Comment #13 posted by Baby G on August 14, 2001 at 20:35:56 PT:
Can someone explain what hash is and how u would go about using it.
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Comment #12 posted by john rithead on April 09, 2001 at 10:19:34 PT:
in my opinion, I don't think that snorting ritalin is bad at all, I just wish that it was easier to find
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #11 posted by Dankhank on December 12, 2000 at 12:07:51 PT
Mungo is correct
Been there, done that, I'm OK.MDMA as most things is dangerous when not used with concern for side effects.Drink plenty of water when raving ...should take care of most problems ...Peace, and yes, let's embrace the rave culture, they are partiers as we are ...Peace ...
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Comment #10 posted by mungojelly on December 11, 2000 at 15:24:59 PT:
let's keep this straight
Ecstasy is not a hard drug. The girls in this article who were taken off to the hospital after taking E... did not actually take E. They took an OTC medication which is much more dangerous than E. There are basically two kinds of cases held up as examples of the danger of MDMA: people who didn't actually take MDMA, and people who happened to be on MDMA when they were injured or killed by some other cause. I think it's important that the cannabis community show some solidarity with the rave community. I have heard people say "why do they make a big deal about marijuana when there are people using dangerous drugs like ecstasy" -- I don't think this is accurate, and I don't think that it helps our cause. Even if MDMA is not your drug of choice (I have never used it myself) it is important that we show to them the same respect that we would like to have. 
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on December 10, 2000 at 21:31:07 PT

Very Interesting comments

Years ago my husband and I participated in a course at Kent State University on how we should deal with drug use and abuse. It was a number of weeks course and we both learned a lot about what would work and what wouldn't. When the tide turned towards incarceration all the good things we learned weren't allowed. We need to bring this thing full circle and solve the drug issues and how to deal with them once and for all. I just keep wondering if the people that are leading our country have a working brain sometimes. I'm not that smart and I get it!
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Comment #8 posted by Lehder on December 10, 2000 at 21:19:11 PT

heavy drugs

cannot be recommended. if a person is knowledgeable about some of these drugs and thinks hehas ause for them, it would be smart to wait until pure forms are available from legal sources and physicians and head shrinkers are free to discuss their merits, purpose and difficulties. Presently, as a result of thewar on drugs, they are made in illegal labs using sloppy procedures and junk chemicals that contain a lot of benzene rings that can give you cancer. The people who make and sell them can be violent heavy-duty criminal types who don't give a damn. 
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Comment #7 posted by dddd on December 10, 2000 at 18:24:10 PT


 In answer to curenderos' debate with your daughter,I submit the following; I'm not necessarily proud of the fact that I am very well schooled in the world of illegal drugs.I am almost 50 years old,and I started using drugs in the sixties,and basicly stopped about ten years ago,(with the exception of MJ,which by the way,I dont consider a "drug).I know from experience that drugs known as;speed,meth,crank,crystal,,,etc.,are a downhill road.I would not recommend them. That said,to address the debate concerning "crystal",and "crank",,you must realize one very important point before you begin the discussion.You will have a very hard time winning the argument on either side.The problem is,that there is no "standard",or universal system in place to name illegal drugs.What one person tells you is "crystal",may well be more pure,or formulated to higher standards than something someone calls "crank".But your daughter should keep in mind,just because someone sells you something they call "crystal",and it was made in some really clean bathtub lab,someone else could easily sell you something,and say it's "crystal",and it could be completly different,and made in that "mop bucket". This is why neither you or your daughter can ever "win" this argument.There are no standards in the world of illegal drugs,,no IDA,(Illegal Drug Administration),to ensure that "crystal",is one thing,and "crank",is another.People can call anything they have,or want,by whatever name they choose. Lastly,keep in mind,that this whole family of drugs are not good.You may like them,and they may make you feel great,but you will end up regreting taking them,and being involved with the people who sell them. If this debate was to have a winner,your daughter would be basicly right."crank",could be anything,"crystal meth",would usually be some form of what it says it is.The romantic notion of it being made in a lab,to some sort of safe,sanitary standard is hogwash...So I guess you both were not wrong............Peace.....dddd
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Comment #6 posted by Fudpucker on December 10, 2000 at 17:58:06 PT:

100,000 people placed in rehab for herb...

 What he is failing to mention is the vast majority of these people placed in rehab for marijuana "addiction" did not go because they "needed" to... they went because they were forced by courts, probation officers, employers, etc. 
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Comment #5 posted by freedom fighter on December 10, 2000 at 14:01:17 PT

Anyone can get over the counter

cold pills from any grocery stores to extract meth from. Nasty stuff!Smoke herb instead! :) 
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Comment #4 posted by defenderoffreeworld on December 10, 2000 at 11:34:27 PT:

i am not very aware of these chemical drugs...

but could someone explain to me what meth is composed of and related with? thanks, 
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on December 10, 2000 at 10:28:44 PT


Out of curiosity I typed in methamphetamine and got this. I am not familar with different terms or types of Meth because my experiences with doing Meth ended in the 70s. Cocaine just didn't take the place of Meth so I never got into Cocaine. Meth is a drug that when it is good it's too good but way back in the 70s you could snort or shoot up some really bad stuff. I hope this url helps. The one thing that I believe is true is an old statement that said, You've never see and old Meth Head. They just don't live that long.
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Comment #2 posted by freedom fighter on December 10, 2000 at 10:15:38 PT

There are many ways

to make meth or crank. I do not think these stuff are pure. More like sniffing or injecting the jet fuel. Having done both, crank and crystal, I can say that they are both toxic!Hope this helps!
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Comment #1 posted by curendero on December 10, 2000 at 08:49:46 PT:

off the subject

Will someone help me settle an argument between my daughter and I? Are crank and crystalmeth the same thing? There is some romantic notion that crystal is more pure made in a lab. While crank is made in a mop bucket and is more toxic? Help, not my area of expertise.
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