- Not My Community
- The Signs
- Not Us
What is Ecstasy?
Ecstasy is a hallucinogen related to amphetamine. It also has stimulant properties. It is a chemical (methylenedioxymeth-amphetamine or MDMA) made in drug labs. Ecstasy is also called E, XTC, Adam, Euphoria, X, MDM and Love Doves.
Ecstasy usually comes in gelatin capsules or tablets. They can be any colour, and may have a design on one side such as a dove or a diamond. It can also come as a powder, which is snorted or, less commonly, dissolved and injected.
As with other illegal drugs, it is impossible to know exactly what chemicals were used to make Ecstasy, or what effects you might experience.
Although users may think Ecstasy is harmless, little is known about the long-term effects of regular use.
Possessing, producing, and trafficking in Ecstasy can result in fines, prison sentences and criminal records.
"Herbal ecstacy" (misspelled on purpose to set it apart from MDMA) is supposed to be a natural and legal alternative. It is a blend of herbs that usually includes ephedra (a basis for some asthma medications) and caffeine. Users often think that because it is "natural," it is safe. At high doses, however, ephedra can cause heart problems. It is also dangerous to take ephedra if you are on certain antidepressant drugs.
What are the effects?
- The effects of Ecstasy can be felt about 20 to 40 minutes after taking it. The high usually lasts between four to six hours.
- Ecstasy can make you feel mildly intoxicated, relaxed and energetic.
- Users report feeling trusting, loving and warm toward others. Some say they experience spiritual insights.
- Ecstasy also makes sensations stronger (especially touch).
- Ecstasy can also cause jaw clenching, teeth grinding, anxiety or panic attacks, blurred vision, vomiting, and increased sweating, blood pressure and heart rate.
- It may cause depression, irritability, poor concentration, forgetfulness, exhaustion and paranoia. These effects can last for several days.
- As is the case with other drugs, the effects may have a lot to do with the state of mind and health of the user.
What are the Risks?
- Using Ecstasy for a long time may cause permanent chemical changes in the brain. This can result in mood changes and disrupted sleep patterns long after use has stopped.
- There is evidence that high doses of Ecstasy can damage brain cells.
- Ecstasy has been involved in deaths due to severe dehydration and heat exhaustion, abnormal heart rhythms and liver failure. Drinking plenty of non-alcoholic beverages may reduce these risks.
- Some regular users become irritable, paranoid, or depressed. They may experience flashbacks or psychosis.
- Repeated use can cause liver damage.
- People who use drugs often can develop serious personal problems. Using drugs can become more important than family and friends. They may continue using even when their job or schoolwork is suffering, or when they run into financial, spiritual or legal problems.
- Young people who use drugs heavily may not learn how to solve problems, handle their emotions, and become mature, responsible adults.