Home Page of the DPNA Website Learn about the Drug Prevention Network of the Americas, its history, principles, members, supporters, and board Looking for information about drug prevention?  Check out our web page links, books, presentations, position papers, and brochures Want to connect with national, regional or international drug prevention sites?  Visit our extensive Links section. Keep up with the latest drug prevention news and events. Ready to become a part of the Drug Prevention Network of the Americas?  Sign up on line.

 News and Updates
Drug Research
Drug Effects
Drug Information
Drug Trends
Best Practices
Drug Legalization
Drug Policy
Books and Guides
Funding Sources


Ecstasy May Leave Brain More Prone To Infection

(CWK Network) New research shows ecstasy may leave the brain more susceptible to infection and the damage may be permanent.

Angela was 15 when she first tried ecstasy and soon she was doing it every week.

"Everyone always told me it would put holes in your brain and I just ignored them," said Angela, who is now 21. "I was like, 'Whatever, I'm not doing it that much.'"

In experiments done on rats, researchers from Boston University Medical School discovered that ecstasy damages the blood brain barrier, which is the group of tightly packed cells which surround and protect the brain.

"What they are saying in this study is that ecstasy essentially breaks down that protection," said Dr. Robert Margolis, executive director of Solutions Counseling, an adolescent addiction treatment center in Atlanta, Ga. "(It) makes that blood brain barrier more porous, the openings between those cells larger, and (it) makes your brain more vulnerable to having things that you don't want in your brain like infections and germs and bacteria."

And now, for all those who took ecstasy at parties or dance clubs, there is a question: Has the drug damaged the barrier that protects their brain?

"The thing that I think you will start to see is looking at long-term epidemiological studies where they start to at least try to find out if ecstasy users have more brain infections (or) have more strokes," Margolis said.

He said there's a chance the damage will be permanent.

"You do not want to do anything that is going to damage your brain because that is one area of your body that does not regenerate," he adds. "It does not fix itself."

Angela and her mom, Peggy, are worried.

"I hope that it doesn't pan out to be that serious because I want her to have a normal brain and be able to function in life," Peggy said. "But you know, sometimes we don't get second chances. If she blew this without knowing what would happen on down the line then that's a sad thing."

"Now I have paranoia that I might have something wrong with me later down the road and I don't want to have to deal with that," Angela said. "I mean, I want to be there for my children, I want to be there for my family. I want to be able to have a regular life now, and it wasn't worth it."

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, ecstasy use is going down. More high school students say they know about ecstasy's harmful effects.