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Research Review

ED Visits Related to Ecstasy Use Increased Nearly 75% From 2004 to 2008

A new national study indicates that the number of emergency department (ED) visits involving the illicit drug Ecstasy increased from 10,220 in 2004 to 17,865 visits in 2008—a 74.8% increase. According to this new study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) most of these Ecstasy-related visits (69.3%) involved patients aged 18 to 29, but notably 17.9% involved adolescents aged 12 to 17. 

Ecstasy use can produce psychedelic and stimulant side effects such as anxiety attacks, tachycardia, hypertension, and hyperthermia. The variety and severity of adverse reactions associated with Ecstasy use can increase when the drug is used in combination with other substances of abuse—a common occurrence among Ecstasy users.

This study indicates that 77.8% of the ED visits involving Ecstasy use also involve the use of at least one or more other substances of abuse. Among Ecstasy-related ED cases involving patients aged 21 or older 39.7% of the patients had used Ecstasy with three or more other substances of abuse.

“The resurgence of Ecstasy use is cause for alarm that demands immediate attention and action,” says SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, JD. “The aggressive prevention efforts being put into place by SAMHSA will help reduce use in states and communities, resulting in less costly emergency department visits related to drug use.”

— Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration