The E Generation at 40

BBC Radio 4 recently broadcast a documentary on the long-term effects of ecstasy (MDMA) now that the ‘E Generation’ are in their 40s.

The documentary looks at the evidence for long-term effects of ecstasy and dispels some of the myths that were promoted in anti-ecstasy campaigns of the early 90s (for example, the famously flawed brain scans presented to suggest that ecstasy leaves functional ‘holes’ in the brain).

It is clear that such scare stories about the drug’s damaging effects were greatly exaggerated.

The evidence does suggest, however, that heavy and / or long-term ecstasy use does lead to mild to moderate cognitive impairment in some people (memory seems particularly sensitive to change).

There is still a need for much more systematic research in this area, particularly as the evidence on whether these long-term impairments get better is quite mixed.

The programme is presented by Dr John Marsden who has researched the impact and neuroscience of ecstasy and talks to a number of people who were heavy ecstasy users in the past.

Link to ‘The E Generation at 40’ with audio.

One thought on “The E Generation at 40”

  1. I was kind of curious about the definition of “e-generation” here. I mean, I was in college when ecstasy started becoming more widely used (and *much* more widely discussed in the press), and I’m still not “in my 40s.” I suspect that “long-term effects” will need to be studied in folks who (a) encountered ecstasy younger than 20, and/or (b) used it for more than a decade. (Of course, if my campus was at all typical, most folks use it for a few months and then lose interest. But maybe that will change as the ravers grow up.)

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