12th graders view even experimenting with most of the illicit drugs as risky. The percentages associating great risk with experimental use rank as follows: 60% for heroin without a needle and crystal methamphetamine (ice); 58% for ecstasy (MDMA) and heroin; 57% for steroids; 51% for cocaine; 48% for PCP; 47% for crack; 45% for cocaine powder; 41% for amphetamines; 37% for LSD; and 28% for sedatives (barbiturates).
12th graders: 30% of 8th graders, 45% of 10th graders, and 58% of 12th graders see great risk in trying ecstasy. Because 12th graders are considerably more likely to have been exposed to ecstasy use and its consequences, this differential might be used effectively in some prevention messages to younger students.
Marijuana was described as readily available (“fairly easy” or “very easy” to get) by 37% of 8th graders in 2007, followed by amphetamine and crack (both at 20%), cocaine powder (19%), steroids and sedatives (barbiturates) (both at 17%), tranquilizers (14%), ecstasy (MDMA) and heroin (both at 13%), crystal methamphetamine (ice) and narcotics other than heroin (both at 12%), LSD ( 11%), and PCP (10%).
Between 37% and 44% of the 12th graders perceived hallucinogens other than LSD (44%), sedatives (barbiturates) (42%), ecstasy (MDMA) and cocaine powder (both at 41%), steroids (40%), crack (38%), and narcotics other than heroin (37%) as readily available.
Ecstasy is usually taken in capsule or tablet form, although it can also be crushed into a powder and injected, snorted, or smoked. The tablets often come imprinted with popular logos such as Mercedes, Gucci, Nike, Versace, Rolls Royce, Golden Arches, and even Teletubbies.
Ecstasy is a popular club drug because of its stimulant properties. Stimulants act on the body by constricting blood flow in the veins and arteries, increasing heart rate and blood pressure, eye pupil dilation, and sweating. The effects of the drug begin 15-60 minutes after ingestion and last 1-6 hours. This enables users to dance vigorously for long periods.
Ecstasy increases a chemical in the body known as catecholamine. This chemical causes blood vessel constriction and increases heart rate, leading to dehydration, high blood pressure, and severe rises in body temperature. It can cause heart attacks, heart failure, strokes, and kidney failure. Death following chronic ecstasy use has been reported. Early deaths are most often due to dehydration that leads to heart, kidney, and liver failure. Later deaths most commonly result from seizures and a condition that causes abnormal chemistries in the blood.