What is Ecstasy?
In 1912, scientists created a new chemical derivative of amphetamine, 3.4-methylenedioxyemthamphetamine or MDMA, and patented it soon afterwards for use as a versatile chemical intermediate in the synthesis of other pharmaceuticals. For reasons that have been lost over time, the company that invented this compound did little to explore its own properties as a drug. In fact, there was little interest in MDMA before the 1950s. In the 1970s, many psychotherapists used as a regular part of therapy, with some calling it "penicillin for the soul" because of the way that it seemingly enhanced communication in patient sessions and supposedly allowed users to reach important, healing insights about their problems.
The popularity of MDMA as "club drug" or "party drug" which was used at raves or all-night dance parities began in Europe in the late 1980s - about 5 years earlier than in the United States.
It is also the same time that MDMA got a new nickname, Ecstasy (also XTC and E), given to it by the newest group to experiment with it. In great Britain and Germany researchers have found that MDMA users - and even former users who have not taken the drug for at least 6 months - perform more poorly on some tests of memory and learning than do nonusers. MDMA also is associated with psychological problems such as anxiety and depression. Evidence showed that this compound was not harmless, and could caused damaging effects on serotonergic neurons. As a result, in 1985 the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration added MDMA to the Schedule I list of drugs with no accepted medical use.
In 1990, MDMA use began to expend rapidly in the United States with more pills going to younger populations. This upsurge in use led to an increase in drug-related...