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Ecstasy is Abused for its Unique Effects

 SAN FRANCISCO-The trend of club drug use, especially Ecstasy, is rising sharply among children and teenagers because of the mind-altering effects it produces, according to Peter Rogers, M.D., M.P.H., of Columbus Children's Hospital, a presenter at the AAP National Conference and Exhibition in San Francisco. "Ecstasy's not a new drug," Dr. Rogers said. "Raves have given it a recent push in the last 18-24 months, making it the newest epidemic."

According to Dr. Rogers, the drug is unique because of the combination of hallucinogens and stimulants. "We've learned Ecstasy is a social drug, and kids are using it in groups, hence the nickname 'hug drug,'" Dr. Rogers said. "Kids typically combine Ecstasy with other substances like alcohol and other illicit drugs--a dangerous combination," Dr. Rogers said.

Although all of the long-term effects of Ecstasy use aren't known, physicians are most concerned with the mounting evidence that club drugs have effects on memory and mood, as well as action, as a neurotoxin that may have catastrophic effects on the central nervous system. Dr. Rogers presented at the 2001 American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference and Exhibition where he offered pediatricians and other child health professionals ways to discuss with patients and parents the uniquely devastating effects of Ecstasy and other club drugs.