The Razor’s Edge

New Column!

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.

Updated: April 4, 2012 — 10:22 pm


Add a Comment
  1. Great column! There are so few people, teens especially, who realize the dangers of drugs. I’m glad you can let peole know. Even “regular” medicine such as cold medicine,like you mentioned, can be dangerous when mixed or overdosed.
    Keep up the good work,Madeleine!

    1. Thank you!

  2. Awesome column!You have a gift girl. Keep it up. And I also live in Indiana.

    1. Thanks!!! You live in Indiana, too? That’s awesome! 🙂

    2. Just so you know I’m the same one who writes the devotional. And its totally awesome that we both live in Indiana. I live about 20 miles south of Terre Haute.

  3. Yeah, I had put two and two together on the devotional–I really like it! I live in Fort Wayne. I’m not sure where Terre Haute is, though. We just moved here last summer, so I’m still figuring out where everything is. 🙂

    1. Fort Wayne is about 4 to 5 hours north of where I live. I only know that because I have some relatives up north.

  4. Oh, cool! LOL, sorry, I need to learn my way around Indiana. 🙂

  5. I had to learn my way around a town thats a mile long. It took about 2 years.

  6. A mile long? Wow, that sounds like one of the towns I used to live in! I’ve lived in a fair number of places, but we lived in Conception, Missouri for a few years when I was younger (it’s in the northwest corner of the map if it’s even on there!) and the town is about three blocks square, built around a seminary where my Dad used to teach. We’re actually going back for a visit in a week or two.
    By the way, if you’re interested in publishing writing for people to read, you might want to try Teen Ink. It’s an teens writing magazine. They publish a monthly mag, but they also have a website where you can share your work. I’ve got several pieces on the site. You just submit your work and in the next few weeks you’ll get an e-mail telling you when your piece is up! It’s pretty cool. My username is GracieR.

  7. Sounds cool! I’ll have to check it out. And yes the town I am in is very small. I actually used to live in South Bend. Not too far from Fort Wayne. But we moved I suppose you could say south when I was 5. Since South Bend I have moved twice. The first town was a bigger than the one I live in now but not by much. And the town I live in now is very redneck.

  8. Redneck? LOL! That’s awesome! I really can’t help myself–I love seeing all the southern boys riding by in their pickup trucks with tattoos and signs that say ‘redneck’. Most of them are very nice–almost gentlemen! I love anything like that–must be the southern side of me! LOL I have family down south, so anything with pickup trucks and the redneck kind of thing reminds of being down south in the red dirt watching the cars go by.
    Is south bend where Notre Dame is? I was up there a few months ago, we went inside to see the chapel. The artwork was beautiful!
    Oh, btw, if you like Percy Jackson type stuff with the gods and everything, you might like watching “Thor”. Have you seen it? My family just went to see the “Avengers” movie, so it jogged my memory. LOL You should see our cat. Her name is “Loki” off of the Norse god of michief! Years after naming her, people are finally getting the joke! LOL 🙂

  9. Haha! My mom finds it annoying and my younger sisters hate southern accents. I however like them and I sound southern sometimes much to their dismay. My mom sounds southern also so I am not alone. All of my family are either up north or California. And Notre Dame is in South Bend. I was considering going there for college at one point but changed my mind. South Bend is a big city and the culture there is so different than what I am used to. Where I am now people wave at each other stranger or not. Up north however people can be more standoff-ish. But thats just the culture there. Like waving and saying hi to total strangers is normal here. We were going to see my uncle who lives up north and in the car ahead of us had two kids in the back. Well being the friendly guy he is, my dad was waving and saying hi. Well, the parents and kids started freaking out. We had to make him stop so they wouldn’t call the police or something. We still tease him about it. And I have heard of Thor. He was the Norse God of thunder I think.

  10. Ah, the south. Gotta love it! It’s very much the same here in Fort Wayne–people wave and say hello a lot more than other places! People thought I was crazy last summer when I had just moved here because I was like “wow! Everyone is so nice! Oh my gosh, did you just hold the door? No one does that in Milwaukee!” whcih is true–people didn’t wave much in milwaukee…they glared and looked like they wanted to shoot you. Not a lovely way to be looked at, I can tell you. LOL Your poor dad–that’s a great story, but that’s so horrible they didn’t wave back! I love it when people wave. 🙂 I’ve got a better Parent story though–several years ago my family went camping with friends. The girl I shared a tent with was my best friend at that point, but she was horrible to share a tent with–had to pee, wanted to talk, decided to light glowsticks so the whole tent glowed…wouldn’t go to sleep barely! LOL when I finally got to sleep after being woken up two or three times, I was woken up AGAIN! Her excuse? “THere’s a bear outside the tent!!!!!!” I freaked out for all of three seconds, then listened closer to the ‘growling’ noise. It was my dad snoring the next tent over. LOL! I haven’t gone camping since and I don’t intent to, worst night of my life!!! LOL 🙂
    And yes, Thor is the god of thunder…he is also very awesome in the movie. 🙂

  11. lol Thats a great story. I love friendly people. I was in a McDonalds one time and it was busy which was odd for 2:30 in the afternoon but as I was waiting in line this old guy just started talking to me and we actually had a conversation. It was kinda weird but I would rather that than glaring. And people hold doors open all he time here. There are a few people who don’t but thats usually overlooked. People even wave at intersections. The cars will stop and people will wave and say hi. Others hold conversation’s on the road so you can’t go anywhere. That drives me nuts.

  12. LOL conversations on the road…it’s been a while since I’ve lived in a small town where that happens. I think if we tried that in Fort Wayne the cops would get us in a hurry! Friendly people are awesome. i wave to everyone, and I have a habit of talking to random people I meet. LOL it drives my brother crazy, but I can’t help it. People are so facinating! most of them are very nice, too! My brother thinks I’m crazy because I meet my friends in the strangest ways. I’ve met two of my best friends over the internet looking for other guitar players…he keeps telling me to be careful, but they turned out to be nice guys! He just doesn’t think I know what I’m doing…which I don’t most of the time, but I am careful. LOL Brothers…do you have any brothers?

  13. I wish the cops would stop it but the cops have other things to focus on. So you either wait patiently, honk your horn or find a detour. I don’t talk to random people usually but I try to talk with the cashiers in walmart. And I have no brothers only sisters. I have some guy friends that are like brothers to me. And I met one of my guy friends over a facebook page I made. My dad was a little nervous at first but I think he forgot. Plus it helps that he trusts me. Usually I meet my fiends at camp or church or something.

  14. Yeah, I have a lot of guy friends that are like extra brothers. And them my brothers have guy friends that are like brothers…so I guess I have a lot of brothers! LOL My dad gets nervous when I meet people over the internet too, but he trust me, so I can. I just get told to be careful, and a parent generally has to meet them in person before we can go places and jam together. LOL Camp and church are good places to make friends–one of my best friends I met at an Art camp I took last year. 🙂

  15. My parents know all my guy friends so they know nothing will happen and we don’t really hang out much. Mainly at youth group on Wednesdays. And I’ve made a few friends at camp. I still talk with them now. Though when hanging around with my guy friends I am usually thankful for having only sisters. But when you and your sisters have a sense of humor that almost matches the guys I don’t know if its that big of a difference. And the humor isn’t dirty, just dry. My extended family has a dry sense of humor so I guess it rubbed off on us. lol

  16. My family has a dry sense of humor too–LOL lots of sarcasm. It’s a bit of a competition to see who can come up with the wittiest comeback. Most of the time you don’t get in trouble for mouthing off–that’s how far the sarcastic sense of humor goes in our house! LOL
    But I have brothers, so yeah…the humor does get pretty dirty sometimes. LOL That’s a guy thing. I don’t know a single guy who won’t laugh at a dirty joke…or tell me one every chance they get.
    We go to the Cathedral (we’re Catholic) so I think we have a youth group. I should look into it–we just switched parishes recently so I haven’t really figured my way around activities here. But the people are very nice. We have friends that go there, which is great until they sit in the pew behind us and the little children are more interest in friends than mass. LOL Making friends at youth group is a good way to meet people who share your faith. I’m not really picky about my friends’ faith, but I prefer someone who believes in God and doesn’t laugh at my beliefs. Or at homeschooling. I’ve found that people in Indiana are much more open to homeschooling than up in Milwaukee–it’s really nice to be in a community where you’re not weird for having a large family and homeschooling! 🙂

  17. My 15 year old sister has that in the bag. Her and my dad are the quickest to come up with a comeback. And there is a lot of sarcasm in my family. If its out of anger then we get in trouble. Its usually in humor though. And the conversation can get dirty at my house sometimes. And I don’t any guy who won’t laugh at a dirty joke either. Its probably programmed into guys like loving chocolate is mostly a girl thing. Though I know guys who love chocolate as much as any girl. And we’re non denominational and we have a medium sized youth group. Though most of them go to the public school they don’t care if you are homeschooled or not. ts mainly about fellowship which is really nice. And I have some friends who aren’t Christian and we respect each others beliefs. I’ve actually found that some homeschoolers are more judgmental than public school people. Like homeschooling automatically makes them better for some reason. Its sad. Homeschoolers get a bad rep from some examples they show on the news. Not all homeschoolers/homeschool parents are like that. Just some. And most families in our co-op have big families.

  18. Homeschoolers do get a bad rep sometimes. Unfortuantely, I have met some of the people that give us that rep. Half my friends go to public school, and they’re all great people–but in Milwaukee when I would say ‘homeschooled’ eyebrows would go up. It was very interesting. Probably because I do not fit the stereotype. When you’re wearing a rock t-shirt, you don’t look like a normal homeschooler apparently. I wonder where that sterotype came from…
    And yes, we do get the rep from the news. I don’t understand why people can’t figure out that the whole reason it’s on the news is because it’s unusual…
    I agree–chocolate is mostly a girl thing, but some guys love it too! It’s funny. I can’t bake (I burn almost everything, literally) but I love making chocolate stuff. But when I make chocolate and we’re having guys over, they don’t eat much of it. Which is weird, because normally, they eat EVERYTHING! LOL But I’m not complaining. More for me. 🙂 I love chocolate!

  19. I know. I once told a cashier I was homeschooled. She looked surprised. I was wearing sweats and hoodie. Basically I looked like an average teenager. I think she was expecting me to be in a uniform or something. I wonder where that sterotype came in as well. Too bad people asume that every homeschooler is like the family on the news. Last Thursday was Crazy Hair Day at my co-op and my sister did red liberty spikes. We went to Subway and one of the moms suggestes wearing a t shirt that said “I’m homeschooled” on it. It was a joke but that would definetly give homescholers a bad rep. And Chocolate is pretty much a survival item in our house sometimes. We’ve been trying to eat healthier so not as much chocolate but whenever someone makes cookies we usually eat most of the dough. But whenever I come into some chocolate, I savor it. I also love gum. Its sort of like a chocolate substitute.

  20. LOL! That’s awesome! I love hoodies, they’re so comfortable! but I have a bad habit of borrowing my brother’s when I can’t find any of mine and he hates that. LOL Your sister rocks! Red liberty spikes=awesome! I’ve dyed my hair red before–that was a mess. My favorite hair dye is black. I do that almost every winter…red makes me look like a tomato. 🙁
    Chocolate is always a survival item! We always have some kind of chocolate lying around, at least at the beginning of the week. But once i find it…it’s gone! LOL My mom wants us to eat healthier too, and I try–oranges are good, so are apples, carrots, strawberries and peppers…but chocolate is best. She hates trying to make cookies because she goes for the chocolate chips and finds the bag half empty! LOL

  21. Sounds like my house. I always steal chocolate chips. And marshmallows. And I love fruit and veggies but nothing holds a candle to chocolate. And I used to borrow my dads hoodies before he told me to stop. So I’ve been having to use my own hoodies. And people were asking to take pictures if her hair. It was so funny. I’ve died my hair red but it was an auburn color. I would love to die my hair black but someone in my youth group already has dyed black hair with blue streaks and it wouldn’t look good on me. So I stick with reds and browns.

  22. Yeah, that’s the problem with hair dye…some colors just don’t look good. Black is the best color for me. My hair is pretty dark, espcially my eyebrows, so black looks natural…which is plus. 🙂
    I love chocolate so much…I just registered for classes (no one is EVER going to see my ID–I look HORRIBLE!) and when I got home…the first thing I wanted was chocolate. Taking placement tests on an empty stomach was not a good idea…I hope I didn’t write chocolate in place of the answer! LOL

  23. I think I’ve done that but not with chocolate. I caught it but yeah. Doing any kind of paper on an empty stomach is just a recipe for disaster. And The dark auburn goes better with my eyebrows which are brown with flecks of blonde. My hair is ashy blonde so it looks bad most days. So I’ve been dyeing it auburn ish. It works.

  24. Auburn…I wish my hair was auburn. i wish I looked good with auburn! LOL My hair gets dark in winter, but it bleaches in summer and goes bronze…literally bronze. 🙂 I can deal with the bronze most days, except when I want to tone down my look, which doesn’t work, because my hair will reflect the light. LOL

  25. My natural hair went brownish in winter and blonder in summer. So I hope the auburn stays. It should though if I keep dyeing it. And my natural hair color washed me out in the winter. So I needed a new color. And I would love to try black hair but it would horrible.

  26. LOL, yeah. I’d love to dye my hair brilliant red again, or even an orangish color, but that would look really, really, really, really….really bad! So I won’t. LOL

  27. i wanted to try black. but the wig i wore one halloween tols me other wise. plus it took forever to for my mom to allow me to dye my hair. so i don’t think i’ll push my luck. but she does admit that dyed hair really isn’t as bad as what we could be into.

  28. Parents can take some convincing sometimes…my mom is pretty open to just about anything I want to do–I think she’s of the same mind as your mom. It could be worse. LOL My mom is actually the one who dyes my hair–we make enough of a mess with the two of us, but if I tried it myself, it would be an even bigger mess! LOL I’m a little sloppy sometimes. 🙂

  29. My older sister dyes mine. So I’m fine until August. Then I may need my younger sister to do it. I am horrible at it. Tried it once and I will never be a beautician.

  30. LOL! Being a beautician is harder than it looks! I’ve tried stuff like that before, and lets just say that if I’m gonna be a stylist, it’ll be for horror movies! LOL

  31. lol I am in the same boat.

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