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MDMA (Often Sold as Ecstasy)


MDMA Overview
MDMA acts as both a stimulant and psychedelic, producing an energizing effect as well as distortions in time and perception and enhanced enjoyment of tactile experiences. Adolescents and young adults use it to promote euphoria, feelings of closeness, empathy, sexuality and to reduce inhibitions. Although MDMA is known universally among users as Ecstasy, researchers have determined that many Ecstasy tablets contain not only MDMA but also a number of other drugs or drug combinations that can be harmful, such as methamphetamine, Ketamine, cocaine, the over-the-counter cough suppressant dextromethorphan, the diet drug ephedrine and caffeine. In addition, other drugs similar to MDMA, such as MDA or PMA, are often sold as Ecstasy, which can lead to overdose and death when the user takes additional doses to obtain the desired effect. MDMA is mainly distributed in tablet form. MDMA tablets are sold with logos, creating brand names for users to seek out. The colorful pills are often hidden among colorful candies. MDMA is also distributed in capsules, powder, and liquid forms.

Street Names: Adam, Beans, Clarity, Disco Biscuit, E, Ecstasy, Eve, Go, Hug Drug, Lover's Speed, MDMA, Peace, STP, X, XTC

Methods of Abuse
MDMA use mainly involves swallowing tablets (50-150 mg). It is also available as a powder, and tablets are sometimes crushed and snorted, occasionally smoked but rarely injected. MDMA abusers usually take MDMA by "stacking" (taking three or more tablets at once) or by "piggy-backing" (taking a series of tablets over a short period of time). One trend among young adults is "candy flipping," which is the co-abuse of MDMA and LSD. It is considered a "party drug" and obtained at "rave" or "techno" parties. However, its abuse has expanded to include other settings outside of the rave scenes, such as on college campuses. As with many other drugs of abuse, MDMA is rarely used alone. It is not uncommon for users to mix MDMA with other substances, such as alcohol and marijuana.

Effect on the Mind
MDMA mainly affects brain cells that use the chemical serotonin to communicate with each other. Serotonin helps to regulate mood, aggression, sexual activity, sleep and sensitivity to pain. Clinical studies suggest that MDMA may increase the risk of long-term, perhaps permanent, problems with memory and learning. MDMA causes changes in perception, including increased sensitivity to touch, euphoria, increased energy, increased sensual and sexual arousal, increased "need" to be touched (i.e., hugged) and an increased need for stimulation. Some unwanted psychological effects include confusion, anxiety, depression, paranoia, sleep problems and drug craving. All these effects usually occur within 30 to 45 minutes of swallowing the drug and usually last 4 to 6 hours, but they may occur or last weeks after ingestion.

Effect on the Body
Users of MDMA experience many of the same effects and face many of the same risks as users of other stimulants such as cocaine and amphetamines. These include increased motor activity, alertness, heart rate and blood pressure. Some unwanted physical effects include muscle tension, tremors, involuntary teeth clenching, muscle cramps, nausea, faintness, chills, sweating and blurred vision. High doses of MDMA can interfere with the ability to regulate body temperature, resulting in a sharp increase in body temperature (hyperthermia), leading to liver, kidney and cardiovascular failure. Severe dehydration can result from the combination of the drug’s effects and the crowded and hot conditions in which the drug is often taken. Studies suggest chronic use of MDMA can produce damage to the serotonin system. It is ironic that a drug that is taken to increase pleasure may cause damage that reduces a person’s ability to feel pleasure. As noted above, in high doses, MDMA can interfere with the body’s ability to regulate temperature. On occasions, this can lead to a sharp increase in body temperature (hyperthermia), resulting in liver, kidney, and cardiovascular system failure and death. Because MDMA can interfere with its own metabolism (that is, its break down within the body), potentially harmful levels can be reached by repeated drug use within short intervals.

Content compiled above is intended for informational use only and it does not endorse or recommend services available in this site.

Information throughout this site is courtesy of:
www.drugabuse.gov
www.samhsa.gov
www.nimh.nih.gov
www.nida.nih.gov
www.cdc.gov
www.teens.drugabuse.gov
www.justice.gov


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