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Drug Information

(E, White Doves, XTC, MDMA)


What is ecstasy?

Ecstasy is part of a group of drugs in the MDA family. Some of these drugs are derived from natural products, while others are synthetic. The chemical name for ecstasy is methylendioxymethylamphetamine or MDMA. It is classed as hallucinogenic amphetamine. Most commonly seen in tablet form, it is also available in powder form. Some tablets contain little or no MDMA, and may consist of a combination of other drugs such as amphetamine and ketamine.

How is it used?

Ecstasy is most commonly taken orally, occasionally it is snorted, smoked or injected.

What are the effects

Ecstasy takes effect 20 minutes to 1 hour after being taken. Pupils become dilated, the jaw tightens, nausea, sweating, dry mouth and throat may occur, along with a rise in blood pressure, heart rate and a loss of appetite.

Ecstasy can give people feelings of serenity and calmness, after an initial euphoria. There can be an increased sense of empathy and understanding. Ecstasy does not necessarily stimulate the desire for sexual activity although it may enhance the sexual experience. It can lead to difficulties for both men and women in achieving orgasm, and for some men it may affect their ability to achieve and maintain an erection.

Deaths as a result of ecstasy use are well publicised. The majority of these deaths occur as a result of ecstasy-induced heatstroke. Ecstasy raises the body temperature and this, combined with the hot and humid atmosphere of a club, together with dancing and not drinking water can result in symptoms of heatstroke and possible death.

When using ecstasy in a hot environment such as a club, users should take breaks from dancing and sip water, about one pint an hour, which may help prevent dehydration. In a few rare cases individuals have died as a result of drinking too much water, and as women retain fluid more readily than men, they may be more at risk.

Research suggests that using ecstasy depletes the levels of seratonin in the brain. Seratonin is the chemical, which amongst other things helps regulate mood. This combined with lack of food and sleep could explain why after using ecstasy people can often feel fatigued and depressed

Legal Status

Ecstasy is a Class A drug.

  • The maximum penalty for possessing a Class A drug is seven years in prison and/or unlimited fine.
  • The maximum penalty for supplying a Class A drug is life imprisonment and/or unlimited fine.


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