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Raves a Hotbed for Ecstasy Overdoses, Says CDC

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Ecstasy overdoses cluster around “raves” — all-night dance parties where the drug is prevalent — and use of the drug is on the rise, USA Today reported June 12. The findings come from a new report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

A New Year's Eve rave in Los Angeles resulted in one death and 18 hospitalizations linked to the drug, the CDC noted in the June 11, 2010 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Ten of those hospitalized had used alcohol, and five had used other drugs in addition to Ecstasy. The patient who died reportedly used cocaine and heroin. All the patients were between 16 and 34 years old.

People who overdose on ecstasy, a synthetic amphetamine also know as MDMA, usually die from hyperthermia (overheating) and related muscle breakdown and kidney failure, said James Garbutt, M.D., a professor of psychiatry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Alcohol can compound the toxicity of ecstasy, another expert noted.

Ecstasy use rose nearly 75 percent between 2004 to 2008, according to the CDC. According to a recent national survey, use of the drug among teens increased from 2008 to 2009, and perception of the drug's risks declined.

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