Hello, my name is Madeleine Richey. I’m a sixteen-year-old in Fort Wayne, IN, where I have spent the last year learning about my new town and figuring out which street leads where, making new friends, and finding books, people, places, and things that inspire my stories, from the beer can lying in the grass to the old man at the bus stop. I’m a novelist at heart and I’ve written books on anything from rockstars to runaways, drug addicts to psychopaths, the cost of keeping secrets, homicides, love affairs, people who still want to believe in heroes, and suicide. I love those kinds of stories–they’re real in ways other stories aren’t. They don’t always have happy endings. I’ve spent several years researching drug addictions, personality disorders, poisons, the psychology of killers and suicides… anything that catches my fancy.
My dream is to become a writer and a missionary. I love children and the best career I could possibly dream up would be as a Missionary with a Catholic charity for which I volunteer. I want to help people and I want to tell stories, especially the stories of people who don’t have a voice of their own. I firmly believe that there are good people to be found, even in the darkest of places. The people who we brand as crazy or criminals, addicts, or damned for homicide or suicide, are people just like you and me. Some of them have faces we recognize–the faces of family and friends, maybe even the face we see when we look in the mirror. I want to share with you the information I have about all these things, so that maybe you can recognize them and walk away from danger or help out a friend who doesn’t see it or saw it too late. We need to be aware of the problems from which our world suffers; if we’re not, we’ll never do anything to fix them.
Ecstasy, by Madeleine Richey
To most people, Ecstasy is a party drug. It makes you feel powerful, happy, and heightens your senses, making the world more beautiful. But Ecstasy, just like any other drug, is like a poison. It can appear beautiful, lure you in with promises of splendor and pleasure, and spread its venom through your veins before you realize that what at first appeared to be so promising of heaven can take your life.
3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine, also known as Ecstasy, is an empathogen (a word used to describe psychoactive drugs that have social and emotional effects). The use of Ecstasy releases large amounts of Serotonin, Dopamine, and Neropinephrine in the human system, entering neurons by way of Monoamine transporters, or MATs, (protein structures that, depending on their type, carry either Serotonin, Dopamine, or Neropinephrine, the three major releases caused by the use of Ecstasy). Serotonin promotes feelings of well being, and the release of higher amounts cause the user to experience feelings of confidence, happiness, and decreased anxiety. Dopamine is a chemical that plays a major function in the reward-driven part of our brain, making it highly addictive, especially to people who have reward-driven personalities. Neropinephrine is a stress hormone that carries the fight or flight instinct throughout the body, affecting attention and response, increasing heart rate and blood flow to skeletal muscle, and the flow of oxygen to the brain.(adrenaline).
On the street, however, people do not generally stop to inquire about the scientific workings of Ecstasy in the human body. And if they did ask, there are few, if any, users, who could tell them. Ecstasy is taken in the form of pills, which can be stacked (double stack, triple stack) to increase the dosage, or combined with other drugs to add to the effects (something often known as “flipping”. The drug combinations can include Marijuana, Meth, Cocaine, or something as simple as cold medicine. In some cases, Ecstasy is mixed with Viagra to create what is called “Sexstasy” as the use of Ecstasy can sometimes decrease male libido, resulting in ED, also known as Erectile Dysfunction).
When using Ecstasy people experience effects within thirty minutes to an hour in most cases, and reach the peak of the high at about one hour or a little later, and afterwards hit what is called a plateau that can last from between 1-3 hours, and finally experience what is called a ‘crash’, or coming down off a high (which is caused by levels of Serotonin, Dopamine, and Neropinephrine below the natural levels). The effects of Ecstasy can include: euphoria, increased intimacy and feelings of love and peace towards others, less aggression and anxiety, and stimulation, arousal, and hyperactivity, often taking making themselves known in an uncontrollably desire to dance, making Ecstasy an ideal party drug.
After-effects of using Ecstasy may include fatigue, anxiety, paranoia, depression, dizziness, insomnia, and lack of appetite among others. An overdose of Ecstasy can cause delirium, panic attacks, intense muscle twitching, heart palpitations, heart or organ failure, or stroke.
Ecstasy is often abbreviated, going by X, XTC, E, Happy pill, Hug drug, and countless others. Slang for users who are affected by the drug include E-tard (a person who is overly affectionate under in the influence of the drug) or an E-puddle (a user so exhausted by hyperactivity that he or she can no longer move).
So maybe they look like candy, all those little bright pills in the palm of your hand, and maybe you’re tempted to take them – just one to see what it’s like, then you’ll never touch them again. But Ecstasy isn’t as pretty as it looks. It promises a lot of things, but in reality it can take your life. You can die from overdose, go to jail for drug use and possession, or you can plunge into the pool of addicts, unable to reach the surface and breathe, trapped by your own addiction. Ecstasy may look tempting, just like the pretty white flowers of Oleander, but it is a poison. A poison that, if you want it, you can get.