Author Topic: Squirming in Ecstacy  (Read 1126 times)

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Squirming in Ecstacy
« on: February 15, 2017, 04:29:59 pm »


"Squirming in Ecstacy"

Editor's Note:

This article appeared in the U.C. Santa Cruz daily newspaper
earlier this year.  It is not meant to be a factual report;
rather, it was intended to give the reader a little general
information about the topic.


One night last quarter student M was innocently doing his
homework in the Stevenson Library when he happened to look out
the window and behold a group of about 20 students innocently
squirming together in the lower Stevenson quad.  Student M
innocently continued to watch this spectacle, while the squirmers
innocently continuen to squirm together for more than half an
hour.  Observers and participants alike were much satisfied with
the event.

"It was neat," said student M.

"But it wasn't anything sexual," qualified student D, who
happened to be doing the innocent squirming.

"They were all hugging and touching each other," recalled student
M in amazement.  "It just, like, makes you really sensitive to
epidermis," explained student A, who was also taking part in the
inocent squirming.  "All you want to do is touch each other's
epidermis."

Yes, this did really happen, and these are REAL students
speaking.  And no, this is not an example of what narrative
evaluatioons do to the student' intellectual capacities.  What we
are talking about here is the drug MDMA (3,4,
methylenedioxymethamphetamine) - or Ecstasy, as it is more
commonly called.

During the last year, MDMA has garnered natioonal media as the
drug that LSD should have been.  Although there is as yet no
research concerning possible adverse longterm effects of MDMA,
enthusiastic users already know about the drug's immediate
effects: it induces euphoria, breaks down psychological and
social barriers, heightens physical sensatioon, increases
emotional receptivity, and generally fosters a sense of rapport
between people.  Unlike psychedelics, however, MDMA is not
hallucinogenic, nor does it seem to interfere with normal
thinking and functioning.  So it's reputed to offer everything
one could want from a drug, and less.  And now the ultimate
touchy-feely drug has come to what is oft-touted as the nation's
last sanctuary of touchy-feeliness.

"I'd say MDMA has become the most popular drug on campus since
the end of last year," reported student X.  "Now there are at
least eight people I've heard of who are supplying MDMA on
campus."  MDMA sells for about $7-15 for dose (125 milligrams)
these days and is usually in the form of a white powder taken
mxed with juice or water, though it also comes in capsule form.
MDMA is very easy to synthesize- any chemistry major could do it-
and rumor has it that some MDMA may even be manufactured in town.
Apparently the preferred mode of experiencing MDMA is with
friends, in large or small groups, and a lot of hugging and
touching goes on.

Surprisingly perhaps, these group encounters do not devolve (or
evolve, depending on your point of view) into wild orgies.  All
sources reported that MDMA did not inflame their sexual
temperaments.  So much for the myth that it is an aphrodisiac.

There seem to be two general schools of thought regarding the use
of MDMA.  Recreatioonal users turn to the drug for fun- much as
you would jog, play poker, have a dinner party, or go camping in
yur RV.  Personal-growth users, on the other hand, use MDMA as a
tol for personal insight.

The recreatioonal types said mainly that MDMA is "fun," and that
iT's not as strong as MDA.  They describe MDMA as being more
"cool" and mental, as compared to the hot, speedy, and
bodyrocking MDA.  One student even went so far as to say that
"MDMA is a waste of time when you compare it to drugs like LSD
and MDA... It's reputatioon is overblown.  I find that it doesn't
lead anyone to do things they couldn't do without the drug if
they wanted to."

Another recreatioonal type added that "the first time you take
it, you have stars in your eyes.  All you have to do is take the
dug and sit back and let the drug take you.  But later, after,
after you've taken it 4 or 5 times, you have to get psyched up
for it to have any real effect."

Personal-growth types, however, are a little more nurturant of
their practices.  "I don't like those party scenes," said student
T.  "There are lots of phony people around who are trying to fake
an experience because they've heard MDMA is the "Love Drug.'" She
prefers to take it only with a few close friends, to enhance
communicatioon.

Student C thinks likewise.  He first took MDMA a few weeks ago
when he was having trouble getting along with a friend.  And the
cure worked: they were able to work out their differences.

"Instead of always blocking and analyzing what someone is saying
t you," he explained, "when you're on MDMA you have a much better
communication process.  You open up and understand things more
clearly.  I know that sounds really hokey to someone who hasn't
done MDMA," he added, "but it's really true."

Both recreational and personal growth types reported no real "bad
trips," though a few users reported instances in which they felt
no effect.  Of the few MDMA experiences that could be ranked as
"depressing," all occured when the person taking the drug was
either alone, in bad company, or was in a bad mood to begin with.
 So, as with so many other drugs, the MDMA high all depends upon
wo you take it with, and how you feel when you take it.

Few after and side-effects were reported.  One student mentioned
occasional alcohol-like hangovers, though he attributed these to
impure MDMA.  Another student said he felt slightly anxious and
unsettled for about one week after the fifth time he took MDMA,
but said it could have been from something else.  On the whole,
however, most users said that not only are after-effects minimal,
but in some cases the euphoria or insight of the high lingered
with them for days.

Unfortunately, there is little scientific information available
about the effects of MDMA.  Although some psychiatrists and
therapists have been giving the drug to patients to aid
doctor-patient rapport since the 1970's, little research has been
done on MDMA.  Once psychiatrist who has done a few of the
published studies on the drug reported that the benefits of MDMA
include euphoria, increased energy, greater self-esteem, and less
use of alcohol and other drugs.

However, MDMA is chemically quite similar to MDA and other
methamphetamines, which are known to damage brain cells
containing the neurotransmitters, sorotonin and dopamine.
Serotin is involved in regulating sleep, sexual behavior, mood,
aggression, and sensitivity to pain, while dopamine is involved
in initiating movement.  Research shows that even a single dose
of MDA seriously debletes serotonin levels for at least two
weeks, and methamphetamines cause the degeneration of dopamine.
Wether MDMA has these same effects has not been determined.

At any rate, when the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) got
wind of the fact that MDMA had hit the streets, it immediately
put a one-year moratorium on the drug.  Until this coming June,
then, MDMA will be classified as a Schedule 1 illegal substance,
along with other drugs such as heroin, LSD, and MDA.  These
substances are declared by the DEA to have no accepted medical
use, and a high potential for abuse.  Naturally, some therapists
don't agree that MDMA has no medical use, while users among the
public don't agree that pleasure implies abuse.

But the question of abuse really revolves around over-use.
Everyone knows that too much of anything can be harmful, and MDMA
is no exception.  In the Haight-Ashbury, for instance, de-tox
clinics have reported cases of people taking 10-15 doses of MDMA
in one day.  And right here in Santa Cruz one student reported
seeing friends ingest five doses in one sitting-- and with
unpleasurable results.

UCSC Drug and Alcohol Counselor Ray Launier said he's seen three
students this year come in with complaints about MDMA
aftereffects.  Consequently he has initiated a survey of student
experiences and attitudes related to MDMA.  Although only Porter
ad Kresge colleges have been polled to date, Launier said that so
far, the findings reveal very few reported side-effects.  Launier
cautioned that conclusions should not be drawn too swiftly.
Comparing the enamored reports of the therapeutic and insight-
bestowing qualities of MDMA to similar reports about cocaine and
LSD when those drugs first appeared, Launier said, "We've seen
this situation again and again: initially we hear nothing but
positive reports, and then later we hear about harmful
side-effects.

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