Ecstasy is made in illegal drug labs.  Its chemical name is 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, or MDMA.  The Ecstasy that is sold on the street is often "cut" (mixed) with other things such as caffeine, ephedrine, amphetamine, ketamine, and LSD.

Ecstasy is usually sold in pill or capsule form.  Sometimes it has a logo stamped on it such as a butterfly or "X".  It can also be sold in powder form and "snorted" (inhaled) or the tablets can be crushed up and snorted.  It can also be injected, although this is less common.

Ecstasy first became popular in the 1980s.  It was mainly a "club drug" used by people at all night dance parties called raves.  In recent years a wider range or people in different settings are using Ecstasy.

Ecstasy affects users in different ways depending on:

  • How much they take
  • How they take it
  • Their physical make-up
  • How often they use it
  • What environment they take it in
  • If they take any other drugs at the same time
  • If they have any medical conditions

Some of the Short Term Effects

  • Feelings of pleasure and well-being

  • Feeling "closer" to others

  • Sociable and confident

  • More energy

  • Teeth grinding and jaw pain

  • Sweating Increase in blood pressure and heart rate

  • Possible anxiety/panic attacks

  • Blurred vision

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Convulsions

After initial effects have worn off, users may have problems with sleeping or remembering.  They may also feel:

  • Confused

  • Irritable

  • Anxious

  • Paranoid

  • Depressed

Long Term Effects

We do not know what the long term effects of Ecstasy are, but studies with animals show it could cause problems in the parts of the brain involved in learning and memory.


People who use Ecstasy can develop tolerance and need to use more and more to get the same effect.  They may become psychologically dependent on Ecstasy and think they need it.  But, people don't seem to become physically dependent and experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop using Ecstasy.

See Also: 
Learn about MDMA (Ecstasy or Molly) (Here to Help)
Learn about what MDMA is, what happens when we use it, when it becomes a problem, and how to make healthier choices about MDMA.

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