More than 10,000 children end up in emergency departments every year because of ecstasy use. That's more than double the number of cases from a decade ago. Our Katie Gibas spoke with experts about the dangers of "E" and how you can talk to your children about drug use.
UNITED STATES -- It's been marketed as the "love drug" and a party rave drug. But ecstasy, also known as MDMA or Molly, can have dangerous consequences.
"If you overdose or use the drug at dance club and you're sweating a lot and drinking a lot of water, you can cause changes in your blood chemistry that results in seizures. You can lose your ability to dissipate head and get very hot," said Dr. Nicholas Nacca, ER Physician and Medical Toxicology Fellow at the Upstate New York Poison Center.
And those side effects are landing a lot of teens in the hospital. That's according to a report released this week by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association. It says emergency department visits involving ecstasy patients younger than 21 more than doubled between 2005 and 2011.
"Half the time, we're not even sure which compound a patient has abused. They can get it on the Internet. They can manufacture it at home. And then to treat somebody and you don't know what kind of ingestion they've had or what kind of drug is on board becomes very difficult," said Nacca.
About one third of those visits also involved alcohol.
"People are now adding these other drugs to their drinking, so with ecstasy, you have a stimulant which pumps you up. Then you have alcohol which is a depressant. So your mind is not knowing what to do. Your judgment becomes seriously impaired," said Philip Rose, the Prevention Network Underage Drinking Prevention Program Coordinator
Experts say the key to addressing this issue comes back to education and parents talking with their children and there are a number of resources out there to get conversation started.
"It's both education and counseling. You have to do some information. But you have to listen to people and find out why they're taking these drugs in the first place. What's going on in their lives? Professional counseling may be a part of it, but just as parents, we need to listen to our children," said Rose.
And the best way to do that is to start the conversation early on before they're tempted to experiment.
MDMA and the Report:
The Prevention Network:
Talking to your kids: