WHAT ECSTASY DOES TO YOUR BRAIN
"We older citizens regard youth, health and prosperity as ecstasy, while our prosperous, healthy youth resort to a pill to achieve it." ED TROSTER Smyrna, Tenn.
Your Cover Story on ecstasy caught my attention [SOCIETY, June 5]. I am a teenager who is exposed to drugs and drug users every day. When I brought the article to school, it passed from hand to hand throughout the day. Although your purpose was to discuss both the harmful effects and therapeutic benefits of ecstasy, it sparked a curiosity among many of my friends. And since the drug is readily available in our community, I'm sure teens will experiment with it. I hope the article does not exacerbate a growing problem. NOA BIRAN Marlboro, N.J.
The report on ecstasy was disappointing and potentially misleading. Ecstasy use is extremely risky for anyone's health. Ecstasy (or MDMA) can produce significant increases in heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature. Because its stimulant effects enable users to dance for extended periods, it can also lead to dehydration, hypertension and heart or kidney failure. Ecstasy use can also lead to long-lasting damage to critical serotonin-containing brain cells. You missed an important educational opportunity. Your article erred heavily on the side of glorifying a substance that experts agree is dangerous, particularly to those involved in the club drug scene. ALAN I. LESHNER, DIRECTOR National Institute on Drug Abuse National Institutes of Health Bethesda, Md.
There are so many possible uses for MDMA, the compound used in ecstasy pills, and I feel it should be legalized for personal and medicinal purposes. I know people who have found peace of mind through the use of MDMA, and I've never seen anyone who has had adverse reactions to properly made MDMA. Your story cleared up many common misperceptions. Thank you for giving both the positive and negative facts on an issue that is quietly affecting every aspect of America's youth. SARAH ANNE COPELAND Baltimore, Md.
About ecstasy: any drug that makes young people throw down their guns and start dancing should not be forbidden. It should be compulsory. DAVID A. ROACH Corpus Christi, Texas
As the substance-awareness coordinator for a high school, I spend about 25 hours a week talking to teenagers. It is important to help students find things other than drugs to excite and motivate them. After they read your report, I may have an even harder time doing that. The average teenage mind will see "e" as somewhat enticing and no big deal, because teens often feel immune to risky behavior. If I were a slightly bored 16-year-old girl who loved to dance and I was contemplating trying ecstasy, I would probably go for it. You made my uphill battle even steeper. ROBYN HENNING Nutley, N.J.