Change Project Research Paper

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Effecting Change

The use of ecstasy amongst ravers has become a very distressing trend in the United States. Ecstasy is a synthetic psychoactive drug assigned the scientific term 3, 4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine. In view of the pervasive abuse of the drug, the primary objective of this study is to create a non-profit organization is to provide authentic, unbiased information highlighting the dangers of excessive consumption of ecstasy. As part of the study, a fictitious non-profit organization identified as Responsible Ravers will focus on reducing the number of people overdosing at raves by urging them to make better decisions and stay safe and healthy. Responsible Ravers enforces a new dynamic of change as espoused in Kotter and Cohen's the Heart of Change Real: Life Stories of How People Change Their Organizations. Kotter and Cohen refer to this model of change as the "see-feel-change" dynamic. The see-feel-change model stimulates action, sparking people's emotions by showing them persuasive reasons for change. This model of change draws from eight steps towards effective change.

Research Questions

How prevalent is the problem of ecstasy abuse amongst ravers?

Do ravers recognize the health risks and consequences associated with excessive consumption of the drug?

What is the most plausible means of reducing the number of people overdosing on the drug?

Effecting Change

Those who have tried to change a certain habit or pervasive pattern of behavior understand how difficult it is to actualize change. Most people believe that effecting change takes making people think differently; this is not the case. Change, at least according to Dan Cohen and John Kotter, happens when people begin to feel -- rather than think -- differently (Kotter & Cohen, 2002). In the Heart of Change Real: Life Stories of How People Change Their Organizations, Cohen and Kotter espouse that in order to achieve change one has to appeal more to the heart rather than the mind. Their viewpoint revolves around a new dynamic of change, which they refer to as the "see-feel- change" dynamic. The see-feel-change stimulates action, sparking people's emotions by showing them persuasive reasons for change. This model of change draws from eight steps towards effective change. In their book, Cohen and Kotter have case studies of companies that effect change with help of the eight-step criteria highlighted as follows.

To begin with, create a sense of urgency in a way that prompts people to understand that things are at a home stretch. This sense of urgency insists the need for change. Second, pull together a team to guide change. This team has to be properly motivated ad equally powerful to effect change. Third, create simple and articulate uplifting visions. Fourth, communicate these visions through motivational, heart-felt messages. Here, it is always advisable to create an atmosphere of change through the relevant channels so that people begin to buy into the change. The fifth step involves empowering the concerned parties by helping remove any foreseeable inhibitors of change such as institutional failures. Next, create short-term milestone goals and objectives to create momentum for effecting change in the long-term. The next step is to maintain this momentum. The final step involves making change stick; nurture the culture of change as an integral part of the team's vision (Kotter & Cohen, 2002).

Ecstasy: The Drug in Question

MDMA (3 4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine) is the scientific term for the synthetic, psychoactive drug commonly referred to as ecstasy. Ecstasy has striking similarities to both the hallucinogen mescaline and the stimulant amphetamine. Following intensive study into the effects of ecstasy, scientists found that pervasive consumption of the drug produces feelings of heightened energy, emotional warmth, euphoria, and empathy toward others. Likewise, they found that ecstasy distorts the sense of time as well as sensory perception. Studies project that ecstasy was initially a popular drug among Caucasian young adults and adolescents who habitually raved at nightclubs, long dance parties and speakeasy clubs. Presently, though, ecstasy abuse traverses a broader range of users (Schwartz & Miller, 1997).

The typical consumption of the drug otherwise known as ecstasy is oral, usually as a tablet or capsule. A wide range of studies indicates that the effects of MDMA typically last approximately 4 to 6 hours. It is common though, according to the studies, for obsessive ecstasy users to take another dose once the effect of the first one starts to fade. The consumption of ecstasy often goes hand in hand with the consumption of other drugs. Various studies indicate that most urban culprits abuse ecstasy as part of a multiple-drug experience including heroin, crack, cocaine, ketamine, methamphetamine, GHB, and sildenafil (Viagra), an erectile-dysfunction drug (Montgomery & Fisk, 2008).

Ecstasy Abuse as a Prevalent Problem

The use of ecstasy amongst ravers has become a very distressing trend in the United States. A wide range of studies indicates a link between ecstasy use and deteriorating academic performance. Scholars have found that as a synthetic psychoactive drug, 3, 4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine causes addiction and impaired judgment, which adversely affects students GPA. Meanwhile, social psychologists seek to put the ecstasy problem within a psychological context. According to Erikson's stages of psychosocial development, ecstasy users most of whom college freshmen undergo a developmental phase characterized by identity crises. As such, they turn to drugs to help relieve tension in bid to avoid social exclusion in the new cultural setting. The problem arises when this becomes a negative trend due to addiction. School grades deteriorate and many freshmen drop out of school or engage in deviant behavior that ruins their academic performance (Montgomery & Fisk, 2008).

In view of the dangers of ecstasy abuse amongst ravers, parents, teachers and other interested parties have expressed concerns on the pervasive trend citing the health risks, social problems and the fate of the future generations amid this ordeal that is seemingly becoming a fashionable trend amongst young people. Social psychologists have highlighted peer pressure as one of the most influential causes of ecstasy use. The pathological quest to conform to the so-called fashionable trends has often turned innocent students into drug abusers for fear of social exclusion. Likewise, domestic problems are leading causes of drug abuse. Students turn to ecstasy to relieve stress from problems at home (Bar-on, 2002).

In bid to examine this concern, the American Medical Association in liaison with the Food and Drugs Administration has conducted a series of surveys in major colleges and other institutes of higher learning in an attempt to deliberate ways in which to foster behavioral change and reverse the pervasive trend of ecstasy abuse amongst ravers. Projected findings link abuse of ecstasy to a wide range of concerns including deteriorating academic performance, social deviance and various health risks. Culprits engage in petty theft, destruction of property and premarital sex while in some instances, students drop out of school. Some even die in the pursuit of adventure by exposing themselves to dangerous activities such as clandestine drug trade (Schwartz & Miller, 1997).

In an attempt to explain some of the causes of drug abuse amongst ravers, social psychologists use human developmental psychology as espoused in Erick Erickson, Jean Piaget and Sigmund Freud's theories. In their adolescence and early adulthood, most people undergo an identity crisis, according to Erikson's psychological theory. Around this age, students, for instance, experience the taste of freedom from a lifetime of strict parental control occasioned with endless curfews, supervised holidays and copious grounding. The sudden shift from parental control to absolute freedom is sometimes too exciting. This developmental phase is a very sensitive stage in psychosocial development given the identity crisis. Erikson reckons that in the process of finding themselves, some lose themselves to the allure of irresponsibility and reckless behavior. As a result, they engage in socially deviant behavior such as irresponsible drinking habits during which they experience with drugs such as ecstasy (Schwartz & Miller, 1997).

Ohio University sociology professor, Thomas Vander Ven undertook various studies in bid to understand the compulsive drive that lures ravers to ecstasy. The professor uncovered that ecstasy helps students fit in social circles, find romantic love and get a glimpse of the implications of adulthood. In Erikson's psychosocial developmental theories, young people, especially college freshmen, undergo a developmental phase of social anxiety during the identity crisis. As a result, being in a new social setting may cause freshmen to feel inferior thus the fear of interaction. Professor Vander Ven explains that as freshmen try to blend in a new culture and social setting, they often feel tense and somewhat afraid since this is a whole new experience they are not used to. In an attempt to ease this tension and feelings of inferiority, freshmen seek a few drinks to gain a 'different perspective.' The professor explains that few drinks help relieve tension. In the drinking spree, some engage in drug use with ecstasy being the most popular drug amongst that demographic, according to studies (Schwartz & Miller, 1997).

Information retrieved from the annals of the National Institute of Health indicates that ecstasy abuse amongst ravers in the United States is a pervasive trend that has… [END OF PREVIEW]

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