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What is ecstasy?

Ecstasy is a stimulant type drug, which may also be known as E, disco biscuits, doves, diamonds, fantasy and XTC.

Ecstasy’s proper name is Methylenedioxymethamphetamine or M.D.M.A. for short. Ecstasy is like a combination of speed and L.S.D, but it doesn’t cause hallucinations.

The amount of ecstasy in a tablet can vary greatly. According to a police analysis some tablets contain no M.D.M.A but other drugs, such as amphetamines, other M.D.A. type drugs, L.S.D., caffeine or a combination of drugs. While other tablets have no drug contents and you could be getting ripped off with anything from vitamins to dog worming capsules.

What does ecstasy look like?

Ecstasy usually comes as flat round tablets in various sizes and colours (but often white), which usually have small motifs embossed on one side. Occasionally, ecstasy may come as a capsule, which can be yellow, pink or clear and very rarely as powder.

How is ecstasy taken?

Ecstasy is nearly always swallowed as a tablet or capsule. However, ecstasy is occasionally snorted, smoked or injected.

What are the immediate effects of ecstasy?

Ecstasy usually makes the user very energetic for a number of hours. The initial rush (usually 20-40 minutes after taking a tablet ) is often followed by the user feeling calm, loving, confident and alert. The effects usually peak for about 2-4 hours though they can last for around 6 hours. The energy buzz from ecstasy means the user can dance for hours. On the bad side taking ecstasy can lead to panic, anxiety, depression, and paranoia. Some users actually feel sick and experience stiffness in the body.

Don’t be fooled into thinking ecstasy hasn’t worked, as it can take up to 1 hour or longer to have an effect and taking another tablet could result in an overdose.

Heatstroke is a major effect of taking ecstasy as it causes a rise in body temperature and being close to hundreds of other people (in a club for example) will raise it even further. Symptoms of heatstroke include; headache, failure to sweat, sickness, dizziness and even loss of consciousness. If you are dancing when taking ecstasy you should regularly stop and rest, drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids and splash your face with water. You should SIP no more than one pint of water per hour when you are dancing.

As ecstasy raises blood pressure and heart rate, you should not take it if you suffer with high blood pressure, diabetes or heart disease.

New research has found young women of reproductive age who take ecstasy are at a greater risk of dying as a result of the drug. This is because women have high levels of the female hormone oestrogen. The hormone prevents a woman’s body from coping with water retention, that occurs when ecstasy is broken down and absorbed in the body. The excess water dilutes the level of salt in the fluid that bathes the body’s tissues. This salt is crucial to the functioning of the nervous system and an imbalance within the body can be fatal. As ecstasy is usually taken in a clubbing environment, where dancing raises the body temperature, the individual will tend to drink a lot more, making the problem worse.

This new research shows that women who drink too much when on ecstasy may also be endangering their health. The best solution is not to take ecstasy at all.

What are the long-term effects of taking ecstasy?

Regular use of ecstasy can lead to psychological dependence (when you feel you cannot do without something), sleep problems, lethargy and severe depression. There is also a danger of over heating and  dehydration.

The more you take ecstasy, the more you’ll need to take to have the same effect, as you will build up a tolerance to it. No one yet knows the possible long term effects of regularly taking ecstasy, though it will increase the risk of you suffering long-term paranoia or psychosis. Recent research suggests it could cause liver and kidney problems.

There have been at least 60 ecstasy related deaths in the U.K. to date.

What class drug is ecstasy?

Ecstasy is a class A drug. It is illegal to produce, possess or supply.

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