Slaves to the Vibe

Even without physical damage, the feelings of happiness experienced in real life could be dwarfed by the artificial euphoria from the drug, although some users don't think this could be a problem.

"I really don't think that you can ruin happiness for yourself," Sam* said. "It's all about moderation."

photo by Nicole Safker

Still, some drug education professionals maintain that the feeling of happiness is fragile and can be easily lost.

"All of a sudden, that first kiss or that great meal or that funny comedian is not as good as it once was because it can't compare to when you were high," Glassman said. "It's no wonder that addicts would do anything to have that feeling again."

For some X addicts, also known as "E-tards1," the sensation of the high can become dangerously attractive.

"I can't say that the withdrawal from Ecstasy is as well-characterized as it might be from morphine or heroin or whatnot," Doering said. "But there's that psychological component that calls people back for more and more.

"What people may be doing in use of this drug is mortgaging tomorrow on the pleasure that they get today," Doering said. "That's awfully tempting."

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* Source's name has been changed.

1See "e-tards" in the glossary.