Club Drug Use Down, but Nation not Letting Down Guard

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recently announced the release of $23 million in grants to combat the use of club drugs like MDMA (ecstasy) in targeted areas across the country.

While mentions of ecstasy in emergency rooms rose 1,491 percent from 1994 to 2002 Administrator Charles Curie exclaimed in a release, "SAMHSA is gratified that the 2003 National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows that among youth 12-17 there was a 41 percent decline in use of ecstasy in the past year.  This grant program will build on these results to protect youngsters who might be tempted to start down that dangerous road of drug abuse."

MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine) is a very potent drug that combines amphetamine and a mild hallucinogen. Like most illicit drugs, ecstasy was developed and patented by a pharmaceutical company, but like so many other controlled substances was found to be extremely toxic and hazardous.  It was tested by psychiatrists for drug-induced counseling practices, but was finally made illegal in 1985. 

Ecstasy also damages a person\s natural ability to feel good, so extreme depression follows the "high" and leaves the person to feel the long-term effects of the drug, which creates a feeling of wanting that high again to replace the depression. The cycle continues, taking more of the same drug to escape the condition brought on by that drug, all the while causing more damage mentally and physically. One former ecstasy user summed up the drug\'s effects on him saying, "I felt so much emotional pain and was so depressed that I wanted to end my life and take all of the world\'s pain with me."

Perhaps the most appealing aspect of the drug for youth is the initial feeling of euphoria, but the way it\'s packaged and ingested makes it seem easier to take. The idea of just taking a pill with a design stamped on it makes it more attractive and appear less harmful. Additionally, popping a pill is more socially acceptable than snorting, smoking or injecting a drug, especially when you consider the millions of people taking prescription drugs these days.

While the new SAMHSA grants awarded definitely contribute to the fight against club drugs, each program is targeting only a few hundred at-risk youth per year.  Narconon Arrowhead's education and prevention program delivers effective anti-drug messages to an average of about one thousand kids per week.  In the last couple of years their prevention specialists have delivered presentations in California, New York, Kentucky, Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Virginia and Indiana.

Narconon Arrowhead is one of the nation's largest and most successful drug rehabilitation and education facilities.  It is the premiere facility of the international network of Narconon centers, using the proven drug-free methodology developed by author and humanitarian L. Ron Hubbard.

For more information on ecstasy or how to help a loved one that is addicted to drugs or alcohol, contact Narconon Arrowhead today at 1-800-468-6933 or visit or

To read more about SAMHSA's grantees for combating club drug use, log on to