At the end of March this year , tragedy struck as around 20 youth in Kwamashu fell prey to the ‘party’ drug Mercedes(Ecstasy), left four dead and the rest hospitalized. Later 23 more youth were hospitalized in Pietermaritzburg due to indulging in the same drug also known ‘Lacoste and Ben 10’. Within period of a few weeks, this tainted form of the drug Ecstasy wreaked havoc amongst the youngsters in Kwazulu Natal all whom used the drug together with alcohol with devastating and sadly fatal consequences.
The Anti-Drug forum is aware of the trend of the use of ecstasy together with alcohol which is all the rage at parties and clubs. It must be noted that drug peddlers and runners are often seen outside clubs, pubs and even shebeens selling their wares to the youth who wish to party all night. However the youth are totally unaware of the shattering consequences the concoction of ecstasy and alcohol has on them.
Sam Pillay, Director of the Anti-Drug Forum said , “ Mercedes is not a new drug. It is just a stronger form of ‘Ecstasy’ which is bulked up with chemicals and other harmful drugs. The composition of the drug varies from area to area depending on what the drug dealer has access to.”
“Ecstasy” is a name for MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine), a synthetic drug that has similar effects to some stimulants. It is a stimulant which causes the brain to release chemicals, such as serotonin and dopamine which are associated with pleasure and excitement. Although it must be noted this euphoria is coupled with the clenching of the jaw, thirst, paranoia, nausea, vomiting, increased heart rate convulsing and even depression.
Although many people assume alcohol to be a stimulant, it is actually a depressant which gets distributed throughout the body where water is found like the brain. Alcohol is also a diuretic which means which means it makes you go to the toilet a lot and makes you sweat a lot. The brain controls cognitive behaviour and with the introduction of alcohol, the individual becomes dehydrated followed by the loss of inhibition, decrease in alertness, impaired judgement and decreased coordination. It also affects the body’s ability to control its temperature.
As stated earlier, ecstasy stimulates the release of chemicals , one of which is serotonin , the chemical which helps regulate the body’s temperature, thus when used with alcohol, this chemical is affected hence the body can become overheated without warning. This can potentially cause life threatening problems including unstoppable bleeding, liver and kidney failure and even becoming comatose.
When mixing alcohol and ecstasy, the user also risks the mixing of a sedative and a stimulant. This can cause irregular heart beats because alcohol reduces the amount of oxygen your heart carries around your body and it slows down your breathing, too. But ecstasy boosts your metabolism so you need more breath and more oxygen to feed all that energy. That combination weakens your heart and the arteries around it.
All in All , this drug cocktail offers up a double dose of dehydration, overheating and organ failure but how many of those who wish to party all night are really aware of these devastating and possibly fatal consequences. Please make the right choices, choose to stay drug free.
Should you need assistance, please contact the Anti-drug Forum on 031 4046993.
Since the inception of Anti-Drug Forum in 2005, 11 years ago, the forum has seen thousands of individuals seeking assistance and rehabilitation after falling prey to substance abuse. Through education and awareness programmes, the SMART CLUB concept in schools, the Anti-Drug Forum was able to empower learners and members of communities at large with the knowledge to say no to substance abuse. However, striving for a drug free society is an on-going challenge as drug dealers are constantly reinventing their presentation and marketing of drugs thus resulting in luring the youth in experimenting and indulging in these drugs. Tragically, many of those who experiment with these substances often become addicted.
Principals of schools and parents are often faced with problem of children’s change in personality and behaviour. This is sometimes due to the youth experimenting with mind altering drugs. Principals and parents are encouraged to get the youth tested. A single or five panel test can determine whether experimenting with drugs is the source of the problem. The Anti-Drug Forum offers drug testing at minimal cost. The counselling services by qualified and experienced social workers are free should the result be positive. In the case of a learner, the individual is enrolled into a five week Early Intervention Programme. For non-scholars, a support group is run every Wednesday evening at 18 30 at the ADF centre in 17 Trisula Ave Arena Park.
Sam Pillay, Director of the Anti-Drug Forum said, “The testing services offered by the Anti-Drug Forum assist parents and caregiver in resolving their doubt on whether the individual is experimenting with drugs. It also provides an opportunity to assist the person before they sink deep into the terrible life of drug addiction. Random Testing is also encouraged for people in rehabilitation programme."
The Anti-Drug Forum is seeking the assistance of registered nurse/auxiliary nurse to assist in the programme for a few hours a week. Please contact offices should you be able to volunteer your time. “
For further inquiries or assistance, please call our offices on 0314046993 or email on firstname.lastname@example.org
The ADF Team,