June 26, 2007 / 3:37 PM / in 12 years

Taking ecstasy once can damage memory

Ecstasy pills in an undated photo. Taking the drug ecstasy just once can cause significant short and long-term memory loss, a British study has shown. REUTERS/DEA/Handout

LONDON, June 26 (Reuters) - Taking the drug ecstasy just once can cause significant short and long-term memory loss, a British study has shown.

Researchers at Hertfordshire University did not find a link between persistent ecstasy taking and continued memory deterioration, suggesting that one-off use can be enough to cause life-long damage.

They said 75 percent of users have a significantly impaired memory compared to those who have never touched the drug. Ecstasy is a popular drug among club goers.

“It’s almost as if there is a one hit problem,” study leader Keith Laws told Reuters.

“Essentially it’s the same if you take a only a few, or an extremely large amount of tablets.”

Laws’s team has found that verbal, and not visual, memory was affected by ecstasy intake in their analysis of 26 studies which involved 600 users.

The average user in the study had taken 327 pills in their lifetime with a range of 16 to 902.

Recent figures show that ecstasy is recreationally used by an estimated 500,000 people in Britain and many users remain unaware of the damage they are causing by taking the drug.

“Often when you ask people who take ecstasy if they have memory problems, they say no, but when you test them, they realise that they have serious problems,” said Laws.

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