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Ecstasy Alone Can Kill

Illegal drug doesn't need to be combined with other drugs to be fatal, study finds

MONDAY, Sept. 29, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- The illegal drug ecstasy need not be combined with other drugs to be fatal, reveals a new British study.

Deaths from the drug -- commonly called "X" on the street but generally meaning 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, or MDMA -- have risen dramatically in England in recent years, the study says. In 1996, 12 people died after using the drug, a statistic that increased to 72 people by 2002. Most victims are young men, 16 to 24 years old, the researchers say.

And, they stress, one in six people who died after taking ecstasy had used no other drug.

Partiers often mix use of ecstasy with alcohol, cocaine and amphetamines to enhance its effects, something the researchers call a "potentially lethal cocktail." But the study, reported in the October issue of Human Psychopharmacology, points out that ecstasy alone can have the same effect.

"This clears up the debate once and for all -- ecstasy alone can kill," says Dr. Fabrizio Schifano, of the National Program on Substance Abuse Deaths, based in London.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about the illegal drug ecstasy.

SOURCE: Human Psychopharmacology, news release, Sept. 23, 2003
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