Many young people feel the “immortality of youth,” thus contributing to the popularity of potentially harmful drug use and underage drinking.  Findings by The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, (SAMHSA), raise concerns and should be a cause for alarm.  Here are a few facts from a new report:

Overall in 2011, there were approximately 1.25 million emergency department visits related to the use       of illicit drugs. Visits related to the dangerous hallucinogenic drug Ecstasy increased 128 percent.  An average of 33 percent of emergency department visits among those younger than age 21 involved Ecstasy AND involved alcohol. This unsafe combination causes a longer-lasting euphoria than Ecstasy or alcohol use alone and may increase the risk for potential abuse.

Abuse of mind altering and dangerous drugs is definitely a problem that needs to be addressed, particularly if it is leading to such a high number of ER visits.  Young people especially do not always consider future consequences of their actions.  The risks are many.

Ecstasy can produce a variety of undesirable health effects such as anxiety and confusion which can last one week or longer after using the drug. Other health risks associated with the use of Ecstasy include becoming dangerously overheated, high blood pressure, and kidney failure.

What is the solution?  Research numbers suggest that the message that mixing Ecstasy and alcohol is dangerous, even life threatening, is not getting through to the younger generation. True prevention efforts need to be implemented, preferably in peer support systems.  SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Prevention provides programs to address substance abuse prevention and employs a variety of evidence-based strategies to reduce drug use among youth.  Abuse tempts addiction.  More research and outreach can help provide the facts and information that could help a growing number of our young people avoid a tragic visit to the ER.