Posted by Zambia on
Many of us feel alone and frightened and uncertain about our future. In fact, I think it's pretty safe to say that all of us have felt these emotions many times throughout the course of our lives. It's a terrible feeling, to feel as though no one else in the world understands you or wants to be with you. It's terrible to feel isolated, and without friends.
This is where drugs, and ecstasy, come in.
Drugs are, in my opinion, an attempt by humans to find something that is missing from their lives: love, attention, friendships, oblivion, etc. Some time ago, I was asked by a friend of mine, who has been fortunate enough to have had a sheltered childhood, what "kind of people" took drugs and the very question irritated me because it sounded as though he thought that people who took drugs were strange and different, and part of a scene he knew nothing about.
But that's not true.
We all know people like the ones who take ecstasy: we work with them; we go to school with them. They are beautiful and wonderful people, who make us laugh, or can make us cry. They go to school, too, and work and a good majority of them believe in God. They try to make the right decisions, too, just as we do. The only difference between those who use drugs, such as ecstasy, and those who do not is that those who are users are hurting very much and they have not learned of more healthy ways to deal with the kind of pain they feel. So, when asked to take a drug that will "help" them, they are ready and willing to try anything, even if they know very little, or nothing at all, about the drug which they are taking. That first time sniffing or swallowing the tablet is done for the need of acceptance (which they get from the other users) and happiness which, they feel, will allow them to forget the pain in their lives (which the drug does, for a brief time).
Now that we've established that the users of drugs and of ecstasy are normal people with normal feelings and emotions, we need to answer the question what is the drug and what makes it so dangerous it is illegal?
What is the desired effect of the drug?
According to those who take ecstasy, which comes in either a tablet or a white powder, feel that it makes them "at one" with other people; it allows them to trust people and to feel empathy toward people. After the drug wears off, they long for that feeling again, because living in distrust of other people is a lonely and frightening experience.
How long do the effects, and the side effects, last?
The desired "high" begins soon after the drug is taken, and lasts for between three and six hours. However, the long term effects have been reported even weeks after the drug was taken. Those who do drugs should know that the one night of acceptance and joy that they are trying to get by taking the drug is only temporary, but it will feel as though the side affects last forever.
What are the side effects?
Some of the side effects of ecstasy include:
Physical symptoms include:
And what does the drug do to the user's brain?
Each of us have, in our brain, a chemical that, although not completely understood, affects all of us, called Serotonin. Serotonin affects how we feel, and it has been known to affect aggression behavior, particularly in males. It also affects how sensitive we are to pain and our sexuality. A drug that is related to Ecstasy, called MDA, destroys the cells in our brains that produce this very important chemical. A psychologist once told me that when we are depressed, drugs such as Zoloft, which are given to get depression stabilized, act by changing the levels of Serotonin in the blood stream. Because of this, if we are taking Ecstasy, or any other drug that affects this chemical, our moods are naturally going to also be affected.
What are the different names of the drug?
As with most drugs, there are many different names for this drug, including:
It is a "club drug" which means that most people come into contact with this drug (and others) at parties known as raves. Raves are, in themselves, illegal and often raided by the police. Because of the tendency to make users feel trust and empathy it has also been called the "hug drug". Regardless of what it is called, Ecstasy is illegal: it is dangerous, and it has killed before, even first time users of small amounts.
Is it an antidepressant?
Yes. Antidepressant means that it makes you high and it makes you feel good, until the side affects wear off.
Is it addictive?
Physically, the drug does not appear to be addictive, but the feelings it produces are addictive. A definite concern is that, because the desired effects fade and eventually, with long time use, cannot even be achieved, Ecstasy will become a gateway drug, leading teens into much harder drugs, such as heroin.
What is the best way to fight Ecstasy?
Rehabilitation and prayer. The happiness that God wants you to have cannot be achieved while on drugs of any kind, because when on drugs, users are attempting to fill a void in their lives. They are unaware, or do not believe, that that void can be filled by God and the healthy outlets He has provided, such as talents and genuine friendships. He does not want us doing drugs and because of this, if we fight Ecstasy, using His name in prayer, we will find the strength to avoid it, and other dangerous drugs. Real ecstasy can be found from the joy that God provides, and it is forever, not just a few hours.
Johnson Odesola (PhD) is from Osun State, the Regional Coordinator in the Redeemed Christian Church of God and a Professor of Divinity with European Theological Seminary UK. He is presently a missionary in Southern Africa based in Zambia
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