ECSTASY

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					ECSTASY
    DISCUSSION GUIDE

    On PBS (Check local listings)
    A half hour special from In the Mix, the award
winning weekly PBS series

    Ecstasy (MDMA) and other drugs like ketamine,
rohypnol and GHB have spread beyond clubs and raves to
use at home and school. The word among teens is that
they're not "serious" drugs; they're not addictive and
using them can't get anyone into trouble. This In the
Mix special, co-hosted by actor Erika Christiansen,
explores the physical, emotional, and legal realities
of "E" by combining hard facts from the experts with
the personal experiences of young people whose drug use
caused serious problems. The goal is to enable viewers
to separate myth from fact, and empower them to make
informed decisions about club drugs.

    How to Use this Program:
    Studies conducted by RMC Research on previous In
the Mix specials have shown that these programs engage
the interest of teenagers, deliver information,
catalyze discussion on critical issues, as well as
promote analytical thinking and a greater sense of
self-efficacy among teens. The aim is to encourage
thought and allow teens to generate their own creative
solutions.

    In this guide, we have outlined specific questions
based on the program’s content, with answers. These
questions can be used to open up more analytical
discussion about related concepts. Also included are
in-class activities and longer-term projects that are
presented in bold type. We suggest showing the entire
program to the group and then running individual
segments followed by discussion.

    Did you know?

        * The 2000 Monitoring the Future study reports
that past-year use of ecstasy by 8th graders increased
82% between 1999 and 2000. Past-month use of ecstasy by
10th graders increased 44 percent during that time.
        * The DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration)
seized 174,278 MDMA pills in 1998, over a million in
1999, and more than 949,000 just between January and
October 2000. *(U.S. Customs seized 750,000 pills in
‘98, 3.5 million in ‘99, and over 9 million in
’00…these figures are higher…let’s use them?)
        * The cost of ecstasy pills range from $10 to
$45 each. However, it costs as little as 2 cents to 25
cents per dose to manufacture them. This high profit
margin is one of the factors encouraging MDMA
importation to the U.S.

   In the Mix Awards

        * 2001 CINE Golden Eagle Award for "Financial
Literacy: On the Money"
        * 2000 Young Adult Library Services
Association’s "Top Ten Videos" list for "School
Violence: Answers From The Inside"
        * 1999 Young Adult Library Services Association
for "Depression: On the Edge"
        * 1999 Academy of Television Arts and Sciences
Honor Roll of Quality Youth Programming
        * 1999 National Mental Health Association
        * 1997 International Prix Danube for Children's
Television
        * 1997 New York Emmy for Children's Programming
        * 1996 Finalist, The New York Festivals
        * 1994 National Emmy for Community Service
Programming

    This guide to ECSTASY contains four major sections
which include questions, discussion topics, and
activities, as well as a list of resources.



   SECTION ONE
   IN THE BEGINNING
    A group of teenagers at a residential treatment
program talk about how they started using Ecstasy and
other club drugs, and how their use escalated.

    Question:
    What are some of the reasons mentioned by the teens
when they talk about why they first started using
ecstasy?
    they wanted to try something new; wanted to be cool
and fit in at a new school; were curious about it; they
had already been using other drugs like marijuana;
their friends or boyfriends/girlfriends pressured them
into trying it

    Further Discussion:
    Where have you heard about club drugs in the media?
In movies and on television? Music lyrics? Books?
Magazines? Discuss some specific examples. How does the
media glamorize club drugs?

    Further Discussion:
    According to the ONDCP’s "2000 Pulse Check" report,
Ecstasy (MDMA) abuse and trafficking is expanding, no
longer confined to the "rave" scene. Where else is
ecstasy being sold and used? (for example: schools,
school-sponsored events, streets, small parties)

    Related Activity:
    Create three columns on the board and label them,
"Small", "Medium", and "Big". As a group, brainstorm
types of decisions that teens make in their lives and
decide which column each decision belongs in. Then,
discuss how these decisions were categorized. Is a
decision "small" because it only takes a moment to
make, or because its results are minor? Talk about the
effects of each decision and whether its category
matches its possible consequences.

    Question:
    Why was it easier for the teens to engage in risky
behavior that they would never have been involved in if
they hadn't been high at the time?
    ecstasy makes you feel like you're safe from
anything, that nothing can ever happen to you; you
concentrate completely in the moment; you do things
without thinking

    Further Discussion:
    The fact that Ashley had to get an HIV test after
unprotected sex, and Michelle’s friend was killed in
DUI-related car accident, are two examples of how the
lack of control that comes with drug use can lead to
many unseen dangers and traumas. What are some other
situations that could take place when drug use is
involved? What are some situations that many people
might not consider in the heat of the moment?

    Question:
    Ecstasy is often mixed with other things like Ajax,
rat poison, speed, etc. Why is it unlikely that an
ecstasy pill might be pure MDMA?
    it gets passed down from person to person, and each
person has the opportunity to cut it with whatever they
want to increase the profits; logos don’t tell you
anything about the content of the pill; there's no way
to tell from looking at the pill whether it's "real" or
not

    Question:
    Why do people who make ecstasy stamp each pill with
a logo or symbol?
    they want to make a pill seem cool or desirable by
associating it with something that’s popular with
teens; many kids will choose one pill over another
simply because of what's stamped on it, or they wrongly
believe a specific logo indicates quality

    Further Discussion:
    Explain to students that a 1999 national government
survey found that more than 70% of young people aged
12-17 have never used an illegal drug. Does this seem
accurate based on your experiences? Does it seem to fit
with what you've heard? Why would it seem like there
are more teenagers who have tried illegal drugs?

    Further Discussion:
    Why do people feel like they have to "experiment"
with drugs? Are there other things you can "experiment"
with to feel like you've had an adventure, that you've
accomplished something, that you've met a challenge and
really "lived"? Name something you've done in your life
that you consider an "experiment". Are you glad you
tried it?

   SECTION TWO
   ECSTASY VS. YOUR BODY

    Dr. Alan Leshner, Director of the National
Institute on Drug Abuse, describes and demonstrates the
effect that club drugs have on the body. The teens in
rehab reveal how drug use took a mental and physical
toll on their lives.

    Question:
    According to Dr. Leshner, ecstasy works by
releasing seratonin and dopamine to your brain. What
happens next?
    the combination of the two chemicals spiking causes
a feeling of "euphoria", or extreme joy

    Question:
    What happens after the euphoria wears off?
    the level of the two chemicals actually drops lower
than it was before the drug was taken

    Question:
    How did Michelle and the other teens feel during
this low period?
    they were miserable; they'd sit in their room for
hours; the depression they felt made them crave more
ecstasy to pull them out of it, which started a vicious
cycle; one boy (Jim) tried to go clean by himself, but
couldn't and set himself on fire

    Related Activity:
    Divide the class into teams and assign each a
different "club drug": ecstasy, GHB, ketamine,
rohypnol, methamphetamine, and LSD. Have each team
research the characteristics of each drug, including
how they are made and the ways they affect the brain
and body. Share results on a blackboard or have teams
present their findings, or have them create "Did You
Know?" posters illustrating the facts they've
researched.

    Question:
    In the brain scans of an ecstasy user three weeks
after the last time they used the drug, the duller
(less bright) areas represent decreased levels of
seratonin, which helps control mood, sleep, memory, and
sensations of pain, among other things. How will lower
seratonin levels affect you?
    mood: depression, problems dealing with daily life
and relationships; sleep: without proper sleep cycles
you will have less physical and mental energy; memory:
schoolwork will suffer and you might forget everyday
things like phone numbers; pain: general physical and
mental well-being will be decreased

    Related Activity:
    Once students understand how decreased seratonin
affects them, ask them to randomly select (for example,
draw from a hat) the name of an occupation. Then, ask
them to describe for the class how ecstasy use might
specifically affect the performance of a person in the
occupation. For example, an airline pilot, professional
basketball player, doctor, truck driver, etc.

    Question:
    According to the Miami undercover police officer
and Dr. Leshner, what are some possible physical
reactions to ecstasy? shaking, dehydration, high body
temperatures, mild heart attacks, strokes, convulsions,
death

    Question:
    Trish and Will are volunteers with a 24-hour teen
ambulance service. They urge viewers not to hesitate to
call 911 if a friend is overdosing on a drug, even if
it means getting them in trouble. What does Trish
suggest you can do while you’re waiting for help to
arrive?
    stay with your friend; if they’re unconscious, make
sure they are sitting upright or lying on their side so
they don’t choke on their own vomit; make sure they
have an open airway and are breathing the whole time
    Question:
    What is ketamine normally used for?
    it’s a veterinary anesthetic used for surgery on
animals

    Question:
    GHB and ketamine both work to shut down your brain
chemical systems. Why would it be dangerous to combine
either of these with alcohol?
    alcohol also shuts down your brain; the combination
means you’re shutting down your brain in two different
ways and can put you into a coma

    Further Discussion:
    Do you think there's enough accurate information
about club drugs available to teenagers? If so, where
do you find this information? Where does false and
misleading information come from? Think about something
that you once thought was true but later found out was
false. How did you find out the truth, and how did you
feel? How did knowing the truth change you and your
actions?

    Related Activity:
    As a class, put together a list of commonly assumed
or often-heard facts related to club drugs that might
be misconceptions. Then divide the class into teams and
assign each team one or more "myths" to research as
true or false. Have teams report their findings to the
class. As an extension activity, students can create
posters or a brochure to display or distribute in the
school or community.



   SECTION THREE
   ECSTASY VS. THE LAW

    A police officer who works undercover in Miami and
Westchester County District Attorney Jeannine Pirro
outline the legal consequences of getting caught
possessing or using club drugs.
     Question:
     How real is the possibility of an undercover cop
being present if you are using or possessing a club
drug?
     very real; they are trained to blend in while at
places and among people where there are drugs; they
know how people act when they are high or have drugs on
them

    Question:
    Does law enforcement give you a break if you’re
caught with just a club drug?
    no; club drugs fall under the same category as
heroin and cocaine; the same penalties apply if you are
charged with possession or are found driving while
under the influence of drugs

    Question:
    Does law enforcement give you a break if you’re
under 18?
    no; even if you are sixteen you are arrested and
get a criminal record; your car will be impounded; your
record may be available for future employers or
colleges to examine if necessary

    Related Activity:
    Divide the class into teams and assign each team a
different "scenario" such as: "You and your friends are
driving while using ecstasy and are pulled over by
police"; "You are using drugs at a rave and the
location is raided by police"; etc. The teams will be
required to research what will happen to the teens in
each situation, according to local and state laws, then
present findings to the class.

    Further Discussion:
    Ashley and Justin talk about their experiences in
prison, and how it's something they never want to go
through again. Why do you think most young people never
consider prison to be a possible consequence to their
actions? What is the stereotypical image of teens who
end up in juvenile detention centers? Do you think it's
true that anyone can end up serving time, regardless of
how often they use drugs or how much they excel at
school or sports? Why or why not?

    Related Activity:
    Through a local police department or juvenile
detention center, arrange to have a young person who is
serving time for a drug-related crime speak to the
class about his or her experiences. Ask a police
officer to explain the legal consequences of being
caught with club drugs.

   SECTION FOUR
   ADDICTION AND RECOVERY

    Dr. Leshner explains the basics of drug addiction,
while the teens talk about what brought them to the
Daytop Treatment Center, what they've learned, and how
they see the future.

    Question:
    How did some of the teens realize that they were
actually addicted to ecstasy?
    they realized they were doing anything to get the
money to buy E, including stealing from their parents
and friends; they were thinking about the drug all the
time; they were increasing the amount of drugs they
were taking without noticing it

    Question:
    According to Dr. Leshner, what is happening to your
brain when you are addicted to drugs?
    your brain is being changed by the drugs, so that
your motivational systems are making the drug the most
important thing

    Further Discussion:
    Meghan says she thought she "had to be thirty to be
a drug addict". When you think of a "drug addict", what
do you see? Name some of the characters you see on
television or in recent films that are drug users,
especially of ecstasy. How are they portrayed? Do you
think the portrayals are realistic? Why would teens
think there's no way they could ever become addicted to
drugs?
    Related Activity:
    Invite a counselor from and/or former member of a
local drug treatment program to speak to the class.

    Question:
    The teens ended up in rehab because their addiction
brought them to the point where they couldn't stop by
themselves and needed help. What are some of the things
they've learned in the residential treatment program?
    they can do anything they want with their future;
it's possible to have fun without drugs; that what you
feel on drug isn’t real; certain things which are fun
in the moment aren't worth the cost; it's important to
be yourself and not worry about what others think

    Further Discussion:
    At the end of the show, host Erika Christensen says
that she's able to say "no thanks" when someone offers
her drugs, and that it's important to always think for
yourself no matter what your friends are saying and
doing. Discuss ways that teens might be able to
effectively refuse an offer of drugs, and alternative
ways to have a good time, in various situations, such
as: "Your friends are putting pressure on you to try
it"; "You're already under the influence of alcohol";
or "You're already very upset about a personal or
family problem and just want to forget about it for a
little while."

    Related Activity:
    Set up two columns on the board or an easel. Have
students brainstorm reasons why a drug user might not
want or be able to seek help, and write the results in
the left-hand column. Then, ask students why they might
hesitate to offer help to a friend abusing drugs. Write
these results in the right-hand column, and compare the
similarities and differences between the two sets of
answers.

    Related Activity:
    Pair students up and ask them to role-play a
situation where one student is a parent, teacher, or
counselor. Give the role-playing student five minutes
(or less) to give the other essential information and
advice that might help them choose to abstain from
using club drugs.

    Related Activity:
    Several of the teens in rehab, as well as host
Erika Christensen, emphasize that it's impossible to
kick the habit alone. Have students research where
teens can get help in your community, as well as what
to do if a friend is addicted. Compile a handbook of
resources and guidelines to be distributed and
available at the school and other local facilities,
such as the library or youth centers.

    Related Activity:
    Erika also reminds viewers that if they are having
personal, family, or school-related problems, drugs are
not the answer-- in fact, they will eventually make
them much worse. Discuss the idea of the "anti-drug":
an activity that helps us express ourselves and boost
our self-esteem, as well as providing an outlet for
working out problems. As a class, compile a list of
anti-drugs, such as: music, drawing, singing, acting,
playing a sport, poetry, volunteer work, religion, etc.
Ask students to identify their own "anti-drug" and have
them create something (an essay, poem, poster, piece of
music, etc.) that expresses how their anti-drug makes
them feel and enhances their lives.



   RESOURCES

    Covenant House Nineline
    (800) 999-9999- available 24hrs/7 days a week
    Provides assistance and referrals dealing with
critical issues (for example: drug addiction,
depression and suicide)

   National Institute on Drug Abuse
   Phone: (888) 644-6432
   Infofax: (888) NIH-NIDA
   www.nida.nih.gov
    Information on drugs of abuse, NIDA publications
and communications, agency events, and links to other
drug-related Internet sites.

    www.clubdrugs.org
    Information from the National Institute on Drug
Abuse about drugs such as Ecstacy, GHB, and Rohypnol,
whose use is especially popular at raves and dance
clubs.


    Office of National Drug Control Policy
    www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov
    Resources, statistics, prevention programs, and
more.

    FreeVibe
    www.freevibe.com
    The White House's National Youth Anti-Drug Media
Campaign has developed tools and resources for teens
that want to maintain a drug-free lifestyle. They help
young people understand the dangers of substance abuse
and make responsible decisions with their lives. The
site emphasizes that the majority of kids are not
involved with drugs.

    The American Council for Drug Education
    www.acde.org
    Offers an extensive library of substance abuse
education and prevention information for kids and
adults, as well as a resource list of prevention
materials and videos.

    Partnership For A Drug-Free America
    www.drugfreeamerica.org
    Among other great resources, here you can search
for facts on drugs by name, image, slang term, or
paraphernalia.

   Join Together Online
   www.jointogether.org
   Phone: (617) 437-1500
   E-mail: info@jointogether.org
    A national resource center for communities working
to reduce substance abuse and gun violence.

    National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug
Information
    www.health.org
    Information on publications, calendars, and related
Internet sites, as well as ‘For Kids Only" materials.

    Daytop Village
    Daytop Village, a non-profit organization founded
in 1963, is the oldest and largest drug- free, self-
help program with 29 centers throughout the United
States. (Featured on this program)
    HOTLINE -- 1-800-2-DAYTOP
    54 West 40th Street
    New York, NY 10018
    Phone: (212) 354-6000
    www.daytop.org




    For information about In the Mix, including show
descriptions and schedules, visit our home on the World
Wide Web at www.inthemix.org, or e-mail us at
inthemix@pbs.org.

    Ecstasy carries one-year off-air taping rights and
performance rights. Check your local PBS listings for
airtimes.

    Videotape copies of the program can be purchased
from Castle Works, Inc. and include performance rights.
For pricing information, visit us at www.inthemix.org;
www.castleworks.com or call 212 684-3940. There is a
discount of $5.00 per tape on orders of any five or
more In the Mix titles.

    Other videos of interest to grades 7-12 are
available on topics including: Dealing with Death; Sex
and Abstinence; School Violence; Financial Literacy;
Cliques; Drug Abuse; Teen Immigrants; Depression and
Suicide, Gun Violence; Computer Literacy; Self-Image
and the Media; Sports Participation; Media Literacy;
Activism; Alcohol and DWI; Dating Violence; Getting
Into College; School to Work Transition; Careers;
Relationships; AIDS; and others. For a complete
catalog, visit www.inthemix.org or www.castleworks.com;
call: (212) 684-3940 or (800) 597-9448; fax us at (212)
684-4015, or write to us at: 114 E. 32 Street, Suite
903, New York, NY 10016. Visit us online at
www.inthemix.org for guides, transcripts, video clips,
lesson plans and other resources.

    2001 In the Mix. ECSTASY is a production of Castle
Works Inc. In the Mix was created by WNYC Radio. This
special was funded by the National Institute on Drug
Abuse.

				
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