Ecstasy is no longer just a rave party drug, and has slowly been absorbed into mainstream recreational drug use. As a result, business and industry needs to remain fully aware of the impact of this relatively recent substance on members of its workforce and staff.[1]

While chemically related to amphetamines the ecstasy or MDMA as it is also known, has recently attracted a potential re- classification as an “ectactogen” because of “marked differences in effect from other phenethylamine drugs such as amphetamines and LSD.[2]

Its arrival in Australia can be traced back to the settlement of Dutch and European devotees or “Orange People” of Bagwan Shri Rajneesh around inner Sydney in the late 1980’s. What began as a spiritual cult-party drug became quickly absorbed into Australian Youth Rave culture,[3] eventually gaining more mainstream acceptance amongst the young adult working population in the 1990’s, particularly in the age bracket of 20-29.

Effects – Cognitive and Affective Impairment

Commonly regarded as a harmless recreational drug, the impact and effect of Ecstasy on any workplace population can be problematic. In industries such as Defence, Mining, Transport and Health Services where cognition and memory recall is required, the fallout from MDMA could well have dire consequences on safety and workplace health and risks.  In the first wave of studies on MDMA, in 1987, Bengel et al noted the drug had dire effects upon the “feel-good” or serotonin receptors in the brain resulting in impairments in mood, cognition and memory and recall.[4] This ongoing depletion of serotonin may in fact result in long term mood disorders and even the possibility of psychiatric complications.[5] Research also indicates the use of MDMA may result in cognitive and affective impairment, including not only memory impairment but memory loss.[6]

CMM Technology offers accurate consultancy and testing services that can help with the monitoring, treatment and eradication of impairments associated with Ecstasy. E-problems in the workplace can be adequately addressed and contained, thanks to the services and products produced by CMM Technology. Call 618-9204-2500 to speak with a CMM Technology consultant today

[1] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare [AIHW] (2003) Statistics on drug use in Australia 2002. AIHW Cat. No.

PHE 43., Canberra.

[2] http://www.abc.net.au/quantum/poison/ecstasy/ecstasy.htm

[3] Hall W & Hando J (1993) “Patterns of illicit psychostimulant use in Australia” in Burrows D, Flaherty B

& McAvoy M (eds.) Illicit psychostimulant use in Australia, Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra

[4] Bengel D, Murphy DL, Andrews AM, Wichems CH, Feltner D, Heils A, Mössner R, Westphal H, & Lesch K-P

(1998) “Altered Brain Serotonin Homeostasis and Locomotor Insensitivity to 3,4- Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (“Ecstasy”) in Serotonin Transporter-Deficient Mice” Molecular Pharmacology 53 (4): 649–655

[5] Ibid.

[6] Reneman L, Booij J, Schmand B, van den Brink W & Gunning B (2000) “Memory disturbances in ‘Ecstasy’ users are correlated with an altered brain serotonin neurotransmission” Psychopharmacology (Berl) 148(3):322–4

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