`Ecstasy linked to more than 200 deaths`
London: Ecstasy, the preferred drug over the past two decades among club goers, has been linked to more than 200 deaths in Britain.
Ecstasy use can lead to heatstroke, particularly when users dance vigorously in hot nightclubs for several hours.
But those who try to minimise the risk of over-heating can also fall victim to the side effects of ecstasy by taking in too much water, a newspaper reported.
It is thought that the drug can affect the workings of the kidneys, leading to fluids being retained in the body. If the brain cells absorb too much water, this can lead to a breathing shut down and death.
In a well-known case, Leah Betts, a schoolgirl from Essex, died after taking a single ecstasy pill at her 18th birthday party in 1995. It was later found that she had drunk about seven litres of water in a short space of time.
Other users of the drug have died from heart failure, particularly those who had an undiagnosed condition, as it raises blood pressure and the heart rate.
British government figures suggest there have been more than 200 deaths from ecstasy since 1996, although this is a relatively small number given the many thousands who take it every weekend.
As more evidence emerges, it also seems likely that long-term use of ecstasy can lead to depression and brain damage similar to that experienced in dementia.