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  • Ecstasy overdose claims another life

  • Ecstasy abuse increasing again in many areas

  • Learn the effects of ecstasy and how to treat symptoms

  • Abuse of ecstasy and similar drugs carries major risks

  • Drug rehabilitation needed to recover from ecstasy toll

  • Ecstasy abuse damages mind and body, requires treatment

  • Increase in deaths involving ecstasy show need for rehabs that work

    Here you will find information on MDMA, or ecstasy. Ecstasy is the street name for the psychoactive drug 3,4- MethyleneDioxy-N-MethylAmphetamine or MDMA.
    A Schedule I drug1, MDMA or ecstasy is a synthetic, psychoactive drug possessing stimulant and hallucinogenic properties. MDMA possesses chemical variations of the stimulant amphetamine or methamphetamine and a hallucinogen, most often mescaline.
    Ecstacy Photo courtesy of DEAIn high doses, MDMA, or ecstasy, can interfere with the body's ability to regulate temperature, sometimes leading to a sharp increase in body temperature (hyperthermia) which can result in liver, kidney, and cardiovascular system failure, and even death. MDMA users also risk increases in heart rate and blood pressure, and symptoms such as muscle tension, involuntary teeth clenching, nausea, blurred vision, faintness, and chills or sweating. Psychological effects of MDMA use can include confusion, depression, sleep problems, drug craving, and severe anxiety. Additionally, these problems can occur during as well as sometimes days or weeks after using the drug.2
    Short term effects
    Ecstasy has several long and short term side effects which the user may not initially notice, or chose to ignore. The effects over time can have a profound effect on the body and mind of the user causing brain damage to depression to dental problems.
    Immediate symptoms include:
  • Muscle tension
  • Involuntary teeth clenching
  • Eye spasms
  • Chills
  • Nausea
  • Extreme dehydration
  • Profuse sweating
  • Blurry vision

    After Ecstasy wears off, the drug can trigger these side effects:
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Paranoia
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Confusion
  • Memory loss
  • Brain damage
    Long term effects
    Recent research findings also link MDMA use to long-term damage to those parts of the brain critical to thought and memory. It is believed that the drug causes damage to the neurons that use the chemical serotonin to communicate with other neurons.

    MDMA is also related in structure and effects to methamphetamine, which has been shown to cause degeneration of neurons containing the neurotransmitter dopamine. Damage to dopamine containing neurons is the underlying cause of the motor disturbances seen in Parkinson's disease. Symptoms of this disease begin with lack of coordination and tremors, and can eventually result in a form of paralysis.2
    Results of the 2007 Monitoring the Future survey indicate that 2.3% of eighth graders, 5.2% of tenth graders, and 6.5% of twelfth graders reported lifetime use of MDMA. In 2006, these percentages were 2.5%, 4.5%, and 6.5%, respectively.3

    Percent of Students Reporting MDMA Use, 2006–2007



    8th Grade
    10th Grade
    12th Grade







    Past month







    Past year














    Ecstasy: The Truth About the Enemy Behind the Mask4 reports that although many people believe that ecstasy is addictive, there are other real dangers which do exist:
    DANGER No. 1: Most ecstasy is only 40% pure so there is always a risk that any pill or gelatinous capsule of ecstasy may have been “cut” (combined) with other drugs such as heroin or cocaine, which are addictive.

    DANGER No. 2: One has to continually increase the amount of the drug one takes in order to feel the same effects. Users say the effect of ecstasy is greatly reduced after the first dose. And as a person takes more of the drug, the negative side effects also increase.

    Because the desired effect from using the drug diminishes, a person often then tries other drugs which are even more dangerous and do cause the user to become addicted.

    DANGER No. 3: Users feel there is sometimes a need to use other drugs such as heroin or cocaine to help cope with the mental and physical pain that results after one “comes down” from ecstasy; 92% of those who take ecstasy also abuse other, even harder drugs. A person often then tries other drugs which are even more dangerous and do cause the user to become addicted.

    DANGER No. 4: The false idea that a person only feels good with ecstasy leads to a desire to take it more often than just at raves and techno parties; 67% of those who use the drug want to continue taking it, despite having bad experiences.
    The National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign also backs up that ecstasy is addictive in that people build a tolerance for the drug over time, spurring some users to take increasingly more pills to achieve the same high.5
    1The Controlled Substance Act (CSA) was enacted by Congress of the United States whereby:
    A) The drug or other substance has high potential for abuse.
    (B) The drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.
    (C) There is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision.
    No prescriptions may be written for Schedule I substances, and such substances are subject to production quotas by the DEA.
    The CSA is the federal U.S. drug policy under which the manufacture, importation, possession, and distribution of certain drugs is regulated. The Act also served as the national implementing legislation for the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.

    National Institute on Drug Abuse.

    3National Institute on Drug Abuse and University of Michigan, 2007 Monitoring the Future Study Drug Data Tables, December 2007  - Office of National Drug Control Policy.

    4Ecstasy: The Truth About the Enemy Behind the Mask website.

    5The National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign PDF

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