I pray this series has been enlightening as we discussed several drugs that are commonly abused. In our final blog in this series we will discuss MDMA (Ecstasy).
It is God’s desire that He completely sanctify every aspect of our lives – spirit, soul, and body – according to I Thessalonians 5:23. God desires to direct our thoughts, our words, and our actions – this is called being “filled with the Spirit” Ephesians 5:18.
As children of God, our bodies are the temple of the Holy Ghost (I Corinthians 6:19). With this in mind we are to glorify God in our bodies because our bodies belong to Him (I Corinthians 6:20). A child of God dishonors God when they introduce into their body (which belongs to God) harmful substances. These substances are not only physically and soulically harmful, but they also diminish our sobriety which in turn decreases the Spirit’s ability to completely control our lives. When we partake of any of these substances, no matter how little it may be, we start the process of becoming filled with them and less filled with the Spirit.
I pray that all of us will attempt, by the grace of God, to live a Spirit filled life and that none of these substances will ever take away the power of God in our lives.
NDMA (3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine), popularly known as ecstasy, is a synthetic, psychoactive drug that has similarities to both the stimulant amphetamine and the hallucinogen mescaline. It produces feelings of increased energy, euphoria, emotional warmth and empathy toward others, and distortions in sensory and time perception.
MDMA was initially popular among white adolescents and young adults in the nightclub scene or at “raves” (long dance parties), but the drug now affects a broader range of users and ethnicities.
How is MDMA Abused?
MDMA is taken orally, usually as a capsule or tablet. It is commonly taken in combination with other drugs. For example some urban gay and bisexual men report using MDMA as part of a multiple-drug experience that includes cocaine, GHB, methamphetamine, ketamine, and the erectile-dysfunction drug sildenafil (Viagra).
How Does MDMA Affect the Brain?
MDMA acts by increasing the activity of three neurotransmitters, serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine.
Serotonin also triggers the release of the hormones oxytocin and vasopressin, which play important roles in love, trust, sexual arousal, and other social experiences. This may account for the characteristic feelings of emotional closeness and empathy produced by the drug.
The surge of serotonin caused by taking MDMA depletes the brain of this important chemical, however, causing negative aftereffects – including confusion, depression, sleep problems, drug craving, and anxiety – that may occur soon after taking the drug or during the days or even weeks thereafter.
Is MDMA Addictive?
MDMA’s addictive properties are very real and devastating.
The neurotransmitter systems targeted by MDMA are the same as those targeted by other addictive drugs.
What Are Other Health Effects of MDMA?
MDMA can have many of the same physical effects as other stimulants like cocaine and amphetamines. These include increases in heart rate and blood pressure, which are particularly risky for people with circulatory problems or heart disease. MDMA users may experience other symptoms such as muscle tension, involuntary teeth clenching, nausea, blurred vision, faintness, and chills or sweating.
In high doses, MDMA can interfere with the body’s ability to regulate temperature. On rare but unpredictable occasions, this can lead to a sharp increase in body temperature (hyperthermia), which can result in liver, kidney, or cardiovascular systems failure or even death. MDMA can interfere with its own metabolism (breakdown within the body), causing potential harmful levels to build up in the body if it is taken repeatedly within short periods of time.
Compounding the risks of ecstasy use is the fact that other potentially harmful drugs (including synthetic cathiniones, the psychoactive ingredients in “bath salts”) are sometimes sold as ecstasy. These drugs can be neurotoxic or pose other unpredictable health risks. And ecstasy tablets that do contain MDMA may contain additional substances such as ephedrine (a stimulant), dextromethorphan (a cough suppressant), ketamine, caffeine, cocaine, or methamphetamine. The combination of MDMA with one or of these drugs may be hazardous. Users who intentionally or unknowingly combine such a mixture with additional substances such as marijuana and alcohol may be putting themselves at even higher risk for adverse health effects.
MDMA, like all the other drugs we have discussed, desires to control our life in place of the Spirit of God. The RU program desires to facilitate in its leaders and students a Spirit filled life so that God is glorified and His Son Jesus is lifted up!