Drug Chief Sees Big Rise in Ecstasy Use 

  Drug Chief Sees Big Rise in Ecstasy Use 

Posted by FoM on January 04, 2001 at 10:31:40 PT
By Jesse J. Holland, Associated Press Writer 
Source: S.F. Gate 

President Clinton's drug policy adviser warned Thursday of an ``explosive increase'' in the use of the drug ecstasy by young people who are poorly educated about new substances they use to get high or build rippled muscles. Briefing reporters on his final report about America's drug problem, Barry McCaffrey noted that drug education and prevention efforts have not kept up with the onslaught of new drugs such as ecstasy, known chemically as methylenedioxymenthylamphetamine, or MDMA. 
Those who use ecstasy normally experience feelings of euphoria and an increased desire for social interaction. They also experience dramatic increases in blood pressure, heart rate and body temperature. Use of MDMA, once mainly an East Coast drug, has spread rapidly across the country, McCaffrey said, with an ``explosive increase in exposure among our children.'' ``They think it's a hug drug, it's a dance-all-night, feel-good drug,'' McCaffrey said. But ecstasy also may permanently impair the brain's neurochemical functions, McCaffrey said, ``never mind the possibility of dropping dead the first time you use it.'' McCaffrey also noted that steroid use is up, particularly among youths who want ``to get that slightly ripped look ... to improve their chance of getting selected for Little League baseball, or high school diving, or track.'' And he said treatment remains a goal of the National Drug Control Strategy, pointing out that chronic drug users in the United States tend to be employed and stable, and view treatment as a stigma. ``We've got 5 million chronically addicted Americans. If we don't have them in effective drug treatment programs we can't ever break the cycle of crime, violence, accidents, health costs that come from drug abuse,'' McCaffrey said in an interview Thursday on CBS' ``The Early Show.'' McCaffrey, who is stepping down Friday as director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, said curtailing illegal drug use requires an approach much like the fight against cancer -- ``prevention coupled with treatment accompanied by research.'' ``Although wars are expected to end, drug education -- like all schooling -- is a continuous process,'' the retired four-star general said in the report, which he presented Thursday at the White House. ``The moment we believe ourselves victorious and drop our guard, drug abuse will resurface in the next generation. To reduce the demand for drugs, prevention must be ongoing,'' the report said. McCaffrey said he is confident the incoming Bush administration is aware of the importance of treatment. Among the other elements of the drug control strategy: --Educating and enabling youth to reject illegal drugs as well as alcohol and tobacco. --Increasing Americans' safety by reducing drug-related crime and violence. --Shielding air, land and sea frontiers from the drug threat. --Breaking foreign and domestic drug sources of supply. ``Along with prevention and treatment, law enforcement is essential for reducing drug use,'' McCaffrey said. ``Illegal drug trafficking inflicts violence and corruption on our communities. Law enforcement is the first line of defense against such unacceptable activity.'' On the Net: Office of National Drug Control Policy: Source: Associated PressAuthor: Jesse J. Holland, Associated Press WriterPublished: Thursday, January 4, 2001 Copyright: 2001 Associated Press  Related Articles:US Report Details Losses in Drug Fight to Stress Continuity in Drug Report of Drugs by Teens Spiked During Clinton Years Advocates Prevention, Treatment 

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