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A-Z of Drugs

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A-Z of drugs

 of Drugs

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Ecstasy

Also known as:

Adam, brownies, burgers, Dennis the Menace, disco biscuits, diamonds, doves, E, eckies, Edward, essence, fantasy, hug drug, love doves, white doves, echoes, chiefs, M and M's, mitsubishes, dolphins, New Yorkers,   MDMA, Pills, smarties, sweeties, X, XTC, shamrocks, tulips, and Rolexes.

Ecstasy and the law

Ecstasy is a Class A drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

What is ecstasy?

Ecstasy is a mind altering stimulant; man made that induces a combination of effects of amphetamines and hallucinogens in the user.   Its full name is Methylene-dioxymethylamphetamine or MDMA for short.   The many names derive from the shape, design, or logo stamped on the pill.   

What does it look like?

Ecstasy usually comes in the form of a tablet or capsule.   The appearance can range considerably from white, yellow and brown to pink, black and red pills.  

How is it used?

Ecstasy is usually swallowed but it can be crushed and snorted or smoked.  

What are the effects?

Ecstasy's effects depend largely upon the amount of MDMA it contains.   Users often feel an initial rush of adrenaline as the drug produces a burst of energy and euphoria.   Inhibitions are reduced, confidence is boosted and users find it easier to chat to people.   Colours, sounds and emotions can seem more intense and like amphetamines, ecstasy holds hallucinogenic qualities.   The pupils become dilated and the user often experiences nausea, sweating and a dry mouth and throat.   The jaw can become tight and to alleviate this users chew gum or suck lollies.

The initial comedown may make users feel tired and emotionally drained.   Some may experience what is known as a 'Happy Monday', whereby the next day users feel happier than normal but a few days after this users report a lack of energy, depression and fatigue.

When do the effects start and how long do they last?

The effects can take between 20 minutes to an hour to reach their peak and can last for up to six hours.  

What are the risks?

Ecstasy pills are sometimes mixed with other substances such as caffeine and ketamine therefore a tablet with the same brand does not guarantee the same chemical make-up.   Some users may have a bad experience which can make them feel anxious, confused and panicky.   This is more common in those who are already feeling anxious or have taken a high dose.

Ecstasy effects how the body regulates temperature and as a result the user incurs a serious risk of dehydrating or overheating, more so if mixed with alcohol.   This can induce a fatal heatstroke users do not replace lost fluid.   On the other hand there is a great risk in inexperienced users who are worried about overheating and drink too much fluid as this can cause hyponatremia or water poisoning.   This can be avoided if when dancing users sip a pint of water per hour or drink orange juice or isotonic sports drinks in moderation.

Accidents are more likely to occur whilst under the influence of ecstasy as it produces a disorientating effect.

Regular (weekly) use of ecstasy often means that users have to take more and more to experience the warm rushing effect as over time this is replaced with a more amphetamine-like effect.   With this the comedowns get worse and worse and users may experience mood swings and depression.  

Ecstasy is dangerous for people with high blood pressure, heart conditions and those prone to epileptic fits.   Loss of appetite can lead to malnourishment and although the longer term effects are unknown, experts are concerned that that the use of ecstasy can cause brain damage, liver and kidney problems.   

Is it addictive?

Physically, no as the body will not crave more.   However, users can become dependent on the high that it gives them.

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Stoke-on-Trent Drug and Alcohol Action Team, First Floor, Civic Centre, Glebe St, Stoke on Trent, ST4 1WR
Tel: 01782 235708 . Fax: 01782 235003 . E-mail: drugactionteam@stoke.gov.uk