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Ecstasy

MDMA, MDEA, burgers, ecstasy, E, eckies, echos, exies, mitzies, tablets

Alcoholic Drinks

Common names

MDMA, MDEA, burgers, ecstasy, E, eckies, echos, exies, mitzies, tablets, or identified by design impressed on tablets, e.g. shamrocks and pigs, Mitsubishi logo etc.

Generic name

Phenethylamines

Scientific name

Methylenedioxymethylamphetamine: Is it any wonder this gets abbreviated to MDMA? To hear the pronunciation of these drugs - go to the main index and click on a drug with a musical note icon attached.

Action

Stimulant/psychedelic, empathogen.

Drug form

Tablets, capsules, in a range of sizes, shapes and colours (video). Occasionally white powder.

Drug effects

Desired:

Euphoria, empathy, exhilaration, energy.

Side-effects:

Sweating, nausea, vomiting, rapid eye movement (nystagmus), dehydration, confusion, anxiety.

Medical Use

None.

Risks

Short-term:

Unknown content of tablets (many fake tablets are sold as ecstasy, which can contain other, more toxic, substances), heatstroke, collapse, coma.

Long-term:

As yet unclear, but may include psychological disturbance, depression, liver and kidney damage. There is growing evidence of damage to nerve endings in the brain but the effects of this on behaviour and the long term consequences for users is still unknown.

Legal status

Class A under the Misuse of Drugs Act, 1971.

How is it taken?

Usually orally, but can be smoked. Injection is unpopular because of the shortened duration of action. This is the stereotypical dance drug.

Paraphernalia

None.

Images

Video of various types of ecstasy.
A rave.
Pink Pigs.
Shamrocks.

Where does it come from?

MDMA is illicitly made in the USA and in both western and eastern Europe. Due to the overwhelming demand for ecstasy and the unreliable nature of the illicit drug market, many other products are sold in its place.

These can include other compounds of the phenethylamine family, such as methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA) or methylenedioxyethylamphetamine (MDEA). There can also be mixtures of other drugs, such as amphetamines and LSD, caffeine, Ketamine and ephedrine.

There are also look-alike pills or tablets which contain no drugs at all. There is no reliable way of finding out what is in a tablet coming from this illicit drug market without having it analysed.

Helping services

Very few users of ecstasy and other 'dance drugs' will present at drug counselling agencies with dependence problems but they often lack information about the drugs. Many drug agencies do outreach or other information work with young dance drug users.

Parents.

The counselling agencies also provide lots of advice and support to parents of young people using these drugs.