Ecstasy: A growing problem in Thomasville - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Ecstasy: A growing problem in Thomasville

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By Christian Jennings - bio | email

February 3, 2009

THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) - Ecstasy is a drug popular among teenagers and young adults and often used at rave parties or night clubs.

Investigators in Thomasville say ecstasy was a big problem in the 90's but now they're afraid the problem is on the rise again.

Just last week narcotics investigators made arrests in three cases involving large quantities of ecstasy pills.

A string of arrests involving the colorful, highly addictive drugs, kept Thomas County narcotics agents busy last week.

"It's very abnormal, especially with the amount of pills sometimes we'll find a pill here or a pill there for personal use, but all three of these cases were designed for sale," says Kevin Lee, Commander of the Thomas County Sheriff's Office Narcotics and Vice Division.

Agents seized 30 pills at their first bust. 24-year-old Alvin Beatty was next on the list. He had 10 pills on him. And a couple days later, 32-year-old Robert Preston was arrested where agents found 51 pills and $1000 cash.

Investigators say the problem will continue as long as the drug is available.

"There's a supplier in Florida that one person or a group of people here in town have been going to getting larger quantities and coming up here and selling them," says Lee.

Ecstasy appeals to teenagers. So parents be on the look out.

"They're usually pinks, yellows, blues, white, bright colored pills with fancy designs on them like smiley faces and nike signs," says Lee.

But here's what many young people don't understand. The drug that gives you a temporary euphoric high can have deadly side effects.

"It raises your body temperature, it races your heart, it can make you have a heart attack, dehydrate and overheat...so its especially dangerous especially if you take more than one pill at a time," says Lee.

Andy Martin, a certified addiction counselor in Albany, says the drug can cause long term mental health problems including chronic depression, and brain damage.

"I've seen brain scans of people's brains that show areas of seratonin and after one dose of ecstasy, a year later the effects can still be seen in that person's brain," says Martin.

"After four uses you can have irreversible brain damage, so it's very dangerous," says Lee.

Narcotics agents are hoping that with three men now in jail, and a continuing investigation, they'll "X" out the problem in their county soon. Feedback

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