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Public Health Officials Warn Against 'Club Drugs'

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In addition to a web site spotlighting club drug risks (www.clubdrugs.org), NIDA will be distributing hundreds of thousands of postcards in Washington and New York showing the difference between a "plain brain" and a "brain after Ecstasy." But the messages aren't only targeted at children and their parents.

Psychiatrist Leventhal says doctors have to be on the alert when they question young patients about drug use. "You have to probe specifically and ask, 'Are you using club drugs?' Kids will know exactly what you're talking about," he tells WebMD.

The drugs are illegal, and although they're not necessarily addictive, users can become dependent on them. While youths may think of them as enhancing the intensity of the rave experience, at least one drug, Ecstasy, can trigger a potentially fatal heat reaction called hyperthermia. "If you have high body temperature in a very tightly packed room, this is very, very hot -- that is what increases hyperthermia," says Leshner.

Although some people may be genetically sensitive to the club drugs, it's impossible to know who may be particularly susceptible. That's what's so shocking about the death of Melissa Ross and others like her around the country.

"The message is there was nothing different about her. The message is that you just never know who's going to be more vulnerable to it than other people. Unfortunately, she was one of the unlucky ones," Melissa's sister, Amy Ross, tells WebMD.

 

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