Drugs Information, what you really should know about, drugs facts on and facts about Ecstasy (MDMA)

A Guide for worried parents, teenagers who are using drugs or thinking about using drugs and anyone who wants to know more about the subject.

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Ecstasy (MDMA) is a synthetic drug with both hallucinogenic and amphetamine-like properties. It is chemically similar to two other synthetic drugs, MDA and methamphetamine, which damage the brain.


How are they taken:
They are all swallowed as tablet's or different coloured capsules, sometimes in liquid or powder form. Very often LSD And amphetamines are sold as ecstacy,as it can look the same as lots of other drugs and medicines. Many people have been sold the wrong thing, either other drugs or no drugs at all. This stops a lot of people using it because of never knowing what they are actually buying. I heard of one story of a lad in liverpool selling bob martin dog tablets for 15 each outside one of the night clubs that was well known for the rave scene, so many of the customers have probably got nice hair!(Jones 1997)

Common street names:
e, mdma, dennis the menace, rhubarb and custard, new yorkers, love doves, disco burgers, phase 4, diamonds, fantasy, echoes, essence, adam, eve, xtc,

The effects start after about 20 minutes and can last for hours. These is a 'rush' feeling followed by a feeling of calm and a sense of well being to those around, often with a heightened perception of colour and sound. Some people actually feel sick and experience a stiffening up of arms, legs and particularly the jaw along with seensations of thirst, sleeplessness, depression and paranoia. Gives a feeling of energy. Some mild hallucinogenic effects.
Many problems users encounter with Ecstasy are similar to those found with the use of amphetamines and cocaine. They include increases in heart rate and blood pressure, nausea, blurred vision, faintness, chills, sweating, and such psychological problems as confusion, depression, sleep problems, craving, severe anxiety, paranoia, and psychotic episodes. Ecstasy's chemical cousin, MDA, destroys cells that produce serotonin in the brain. These cells play a direct roll in regulating aggression, mood, sexual activity, sleep, and sensitivity to pain. Methamphetamine, also similar to Ecstasy, damages brain cells that produce dopamine. Scientists have now shown that Ecstacy not only makes the brain's nerve branches and endings degenerate, but also makes them "regrow, but abnormally - failing to reconnect with some brain areas and connecting elsewhere with the wrong areas. These reconnections may be permanent, resulting in cognitive impairments, changes in emotion, learning, memory, or hormone-like chemical abnormalities" (Delivering Results: A Program Report on Brain Research, Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives, New York, 1996).


The risks:
Long term use can cause damage to the liver. When taken in a hot atmosphere can lead to heat stroke and dehydration. Depression. Some deaths reported. A number of people have died from taking just one tablet. Current evidence suggests most of them died from heat stroke by becoming hot and dried out (dehydration). Taking ecstacy raises the body temperature. The energy people get means people can dance for hours, getting even hotter acts as a stimulant, so the risks are greater for people with heart conditions, high blood pressure or who suffer from epileptic fits.

Higher doses taken regularly can result in anxiety and panic attacks, paranoia, confusion and insomnia, but once the drug is stopped, these symptoms usually disappear. It is illegal to have, give away or sell ecstacy. It is in the same legal catagory as heroin and cocaine, class A.

Physical risks associated with using ecstacy:
increased heart rate and blood pressure sleeplessness and tremors lack of muscular coordination sparse, mangled, and incoherent speech
decreased awareness of touch and pain that can result in self-inflicted injuries convulsions coma; heart and lung failure double vision
Psychological risks associated with using hallucinogens:
a sense of distance and estrangement depression, anxiety, and paranoia violent behavior confusion, suspicion, and loss of control
flashbacks behavior similar to schizophrenic psychosis catatonic syndrome whereby the user becomes mute, lethargic, disoriented, and makes meaningless repetitive movements

Remember Lear Beth died after taking only 1 ecstacy tablet (first time user)

For information about other drugs, return to Drug Information Page.