Don't Let Ecstasy
Be Your Agony
By JO1 Joseph Gunder
Navy Wire Service
WASHINGTON (NWS) In the Navy, a lack of situational awareness
can be deadly. Some over-the-counter medicines (cough medicines,
painkillers) can decrease the edge military personnel need to tread
the line between life and death.
A drowsy hull technician working on a metal press could have a
finger or two crushed. A boatswain's mate on a ship's forecastle
might not be paying attention to the color of the anchor chain paying
out of the locker, or turn the friction brake in the wrong direction,
with disastrous results.
You get the idea. If an over-the-counter medication could perhaps
lead to these kinds of situations, imagine what a mind-altering
drug like ecstasy could lead to. It has no accepted medicinal use
for treatment in the United States. And it's illegal.
Ecstasy is a synthetic amphetamine drug, related chemically to
methamphetamine compounds. It's also known by the street names "E,"
"X," and "XTC." It is often referred to as a
"club drug" because it has been sold in nightclubs and
rave parties. It's misperceived as a "safe drug" without
the side effects of other rave drugs such as LSD, methamphetamines,
heroin or PCP. Ecstasy comes in pill form, about the size of an
aspirin, or may occur as a capsule or sold as a powder. Immediate
effects include a sense of euphoria, energy and altered sensory
Then there are the side effects. Current medical literature lists
depression and panic disorders as some of the long-term effects.
Acute short-term effects include water loss from sweating, high
body temperature and loss of motor skills and judgment.
But drinking large amounts of water isn't a solution to the water
loss problem caused by ecstasy abuse. A large intake of water to
replace water loss from sweating and a higher body temperature can
lead to a salt imbalance, and a trip to the emergency room.
This is a huge risk to one's health and safety for a drug "high."
Why risk your health and safety, as well as the safety of others
around you, to a drug that the Food and Drug Administration said
has no medical treatment value, especially one that was produced
in someone's basement?
No one in the Navy would trust their lives to somebody who wasn't
at 100 percent efficiency because of some party drug. Everyone's
job is too important to be compromised by drug abuse. When it comes
to safety, staying away from ecstasy is a no-brainer.
The Department of Defense has been testing for "designer amphetamines"
since 1997, and every sample that passes through the military testing
laboratories gets screened for these types of drugs. More than 400
Navy and Marine Corps personnel were identified for ecstasy abuse
The Navy and Marine Corps team has a "zero tolerance"
policy for illegal drug use, and that includes ecstasy. Don't let
it turn into your agony. If you're doing it, stop. If someone else
is doing it, report the individual. Don't risk detection, punishment,
or discharge under dishonorable or other than honorable conditions.
But don't just avoid it for those reasons, think of yourself and
your shipmates. It's a matter of safety...their lives could be in