WHAT IS ECSTASY?
Ecstasy (MDMA) is a synthetic, psychoactive drug. In the past, some therapists in the United States used the drug to facilitate psychotherapy. Ecstasy exerts its primary effects in the brain on neurons that use the chemical serotonin to communicate with other neurons. The serotonin system plays an important role in regulating mood, aggression, sexual activity, sleep, and sensitivity to pain. Ecstasy is made in illicit labs with chemicals and processes that vary from lab to lab. Currently, MDMA is predominantly a “club drug” and is commonly used at all-night dance parties knows as “raves."
What does ecstasy look like?
Ecstasy is usually sold as a tablet or capsule. Ecstasy tablets come in different shapes, sizes and colors, and are often stamped with a logo, such as a butterfly or clover, giving them a candy-like look.
HOW IS ECSTASY CONSUMED?
Ecstasy tablets are usually swallowed. It may also be sold in powder form, or the tablets maybe crushed and then snorted.
WHAT DOES ECSTASY TO DO ME?
Ecstasy takes effect 20-40 minutes after taking a tablet, with little rushes of exhilaration which can be accompanied by nausea. 60-90 minutes after taking the drug, the user feels the peak effects which include heightened feelings of empathy, emotional warmth and self-acceptance. Increased sociability and closeness to others is also reported. Problems can occur during and sometimes days or weeks after taking ecstasy that include confusion, depression, sleep problems, drug craving, and severe anxiety.
WHAT ARE RAVES?
Raves are parties characterized by high entrance fees, extensive drug use, and overcrowded dance floors. Raves are often promoted as alcohol free events, giving a false sense of security. In reality, raves may be havens for the illicit sale and abuse of club drugs.
Ecstasy use in high doses can interfere with the body’s ability to regulate temperature resulting in liver, kidney and cardiovascular system failure. Many of the same risks as cocaine and amphetamine users are also faced by Ecstasy users such as increases in heart rate and blood pressure. Other symptoms include muscle tension, involuntary teeth clenching, nausea, blurred vision, faintness, and chills or sweating. MDMA causes damage to the parts of the brain that are critical to thought and memory. A study in nonhuman primates showed that exposure to MDMA for only 4 days caused damage to serotonin nerve terminals that was evident 6 to 7 years later.
Rave party attendees who ingest MDMA are at risk of dehydration and hyperthermia. These risks are due to a combination of the drug’s stimulant effect, which allows the user to dance for long periods of time. The combination of crowded all-night dance parties and MDMA use has been reported to cause fatalities.
Ecstasy is often referred to these names on the street:
MDMA, Adam, XTC, Beans, and Love Drug.
Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse