Substance-Related Disorders

Ecstasy Turns to Tragedy for U.K Teens

The Medical Post, March 5, 1996

LONDON - Long-term users of the trendy drug Ecstasy face severe liver, heart and brain damage, a British expert says.

The unexpected extent of damage was found by Dr. Chris Milroy, of the department of forensic pathology at Sheffield University, in autopsies on seven males aged 20 to 25 years who died suddenly within the past three years after taking Ecstasy, also called amphetamine MDMA.

It is estimated more than 500,000 young Brits, many part of the underground "rave" culture, use Ecstasy each week. Several sudden overdose deaths among young women in recent months have received wide publicity.

Dr. Milroy, reporting his findings in The Journal of Clinical Pathology, said there were dramatic changes in the livers of all seven victims. All had masses of dead tissue.

Similar damage to the heart was found in five of the men and swelling, bleeding and damaged nerves were found in the brains of three of them.

"The short-term risks of Ecstasy use are becoming increasingly more apparent," he said.

Copyright 1996 Maclean Hunter Publishing Limited
Reprinted with permission.

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