When 16-year-old Amy Thomson decided to go to a ecstasy-fuelled house party in Glasgow, Scotland last June, she didn’t know that one little pill would devastate her life.
She took a powerful form of crystallized MDMA, the main ingredient in other forms of the drug known as molly and ecstasy, that left her struggling to survive in a month-long coma. Now, Amy and her family have released a short video to bring awareness to the devastating side effects of MDMA which may include potentially permanent brain damage.
On June 10, Thomson attended an “ecstasy party” in Glasgow where she collapsed after taking an unknown amount of MDMA. She was taken to a nearby hospital along with three other girls ages 15, 17 and 18 who feared they had taken the drug. A 33-year-old man and two women ages 17 and 18 were later arrested for alleged drug offenses after the party.
The three girls were later discharged, but Thomson was not as lucky.
She remained in a coma on life support for nearly a month in the hospital. When she finally regained consciousness, she was transferred to a specialist rehabilitation unit for people with brain injuries.
Now, three months after that fateful night, Thomson’s family is posting the video on support pages for her. Her cousin, Kayla, wrote on one page:
“Some people may have cried, laughed or been shocked seeing the video. But this is what a tiny pill can do to you.
“If this isn’t an eye-opener for everyone who continues to take stuff, I dunno what is.”
In the video, Thomson manages to say from a wheelchair, “Thank you, thank you everyone, thanks for your support,” and waves her hand slightly.
Studies have previously shown that MDMA can cause neurotoxicity in laboratory animals by destroying serotonin axons, otherwise known as brain cells. Ecstasy typically overloads these axons with lots of serotonin at once, causing euphoria, but once they are destroyed, the brain’s system of regulating emotions, appetite, sleep and other functions is disrupted — brain cells may or may not grow back. Studies have shown that even small recreational doses (1.28 mg/kg) of MDMA can be neurotoxic while other studies have found that larger recreational doses (1.5 mg/kg) can leave no signs of damage.
Thomson’s family believes that with continued treatment, Amy will continue to make progress.