The White House

Office of the National Drug Control Policy

Statement from White House Drug Policy Director Gil Kerlikowske Regarding Dramatic Rise in Ecstasy-Related Emergency Room Visits

Washington, D.C. – Today, Gil Kerlikowske, Director of National Drug Control Policy, released the following statement in response to a new analysis showing the number of hospital emergency visits involving the illicit drug Ecstasy increased dramatically between 2004 and 2008:

“The new data on emergency room visits for Ecstasy come at a critical time,” said Director Kerlikowske. “We know youth drug use is on the rise and, as teens and young adults prepare for spring break vacations, parents should remember they can remain a powerful and positive influence in their children’s lives. For many young adults, prevention begins at home. As students prepare for spring break trips, where drug and alcohol use is often high, I encourage parents to talk with their children about drugs and alcohol, set clear rules for time spent on vacations, and stay informed about their teen’s plans.”

The new data, released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Agency (SAMHSA), reported that Ecstasy-related emergency room visits rose from 10,220 in 2004 to 17,865 visits in 2008 – a 74.8 percent increase. While the majority of Ecstasy-related visits (69.3 percent) involved patients aged 18 to 29, an alarmingly high number (17.9 percent) involved adolescents aged 12 to 17. In addition, the study found that 77.8 percent of the emergency department visits involving Ecstasy use also involved the use of at least one or more other substances of abuse.

TheAntiDrug.com website provides resources for parents and tips for talking with their children about drugs, including:

  • Make a plan
  • Present the facts
  • Listen and Discuss
  • Set rules and clear boundaries
  • Reward good behavior

The Obama Administration's National Drug Control Strategy is a balanced approach that places unprecedented emphasis on reducing the public health effects of drug use and its consequences. This approach includes ensuring women and girls have access to effective substance abuse treatment tailored to female clients, increasing the availability of family-based treatment, reaching teenage girls with targeted and gender-appropriate prevention messaging, and working to disrupt the cycle of intergenerational substance abuse.

To view the SAMHSA report, click here: LINK. To read more details about tips for parents, click here: http://www.theantidrug.com/ei/conversations_teen.asp.