Ecstasy will always be associated with dancing and loving, but what do you know about the effects and the risks of the clubber's little helper?
It's usually white in colour, but comes in tablets of different shapes, and sizes. Some have pictures or logos stamped on them. Different ecstasy tablets contain different amounts of MDMA, if any at all. This has a huge influence on the nature and strength of the effects.
What are the effects of taking ecstasy?
- Users take the drug to enhance feelings of empathy with other people and increase sensitivity to their surroundings.
- Sound, colour and emotions can seem much more intense.
- Strong feelings of affection and love towards other people and things are common.
- The energy buzz from ecstasy means users may dance for hours.
- The effects usually take about half an hour to kick in.
- The effects tend to last three to six hours, followed by a gradual comedown.
What are the risks of taking ecstasy?
- As the drug kicks in, users may experience an initial rush of nervousness, and uncertainty, a tightening of the jaw, increase heart rate, sweating, and nausea. This is known as 'coming up.'
- Some users report bad experiences, including feelings of paranoia and confusion.
- Ecstasy affects the body's natural thermostat. Dancing for long periods in a hot pace such as a club increases the chances of users overheating and/or dehydrating.
- Drinking too much can be dangerous or even fatal. Ecstasy can cause the body to release a hormone that prevents the production of urine, so if you drink a lot too quickly, it interferes with your body's salt balance which can be just as deadly as not drinking enough water.
- After the effects have subsided, users can feel tired, depressed and irritable for days.
- There is some debate into to the long term psychological effects of ecstasy use, including links to possible brain damage.
- Anyone with a heart condition, blood pressure problems, epilepsy or asthma can have a dangerous reaction to the drug.
- There have been over 200 ecstasy-related deaths in the UK over the last 15 years.
Ecstasy is also known as:
E, pills, doves, XTC, disco biscuits, Bruce Lee's, echoes, hug drug, burgers, Smarties, magic beans, Mitsubishis, Rolexes, dolphins, snowballs, callies, eccies, tablets, Gary Abletts, little fellas, dids and yokes.
Other ecstasy-related terms:
- Blue Tuesday - The Tuesday following a Saturday night spent taking ecstasy, characterised by a low or prickly mood.
- Coming up/ rushing - on the verge of feeling the effect of an E.
- Drop - the action of taking an ecstasy tablet.
- Loved up - feeling the full empathic effects of ecstasy and feeling enormous affection for everyone around you.
- Peaking - feeling the full effects of an E, usually a couple of hours after ingestion.
Ecstasy and the law:
Ecstasy is a Class A drug; it is illegal to reproduce, supply, or possess the drug.
If you're planning to take ecstasy:
- To avoid overheating and dehydration - especially when dancing - users should take regular breaks and sip about a pint of non-alcoholic fluid such as fruit juice or isotonic sports drinks over the course of each hour.
- Be aware that not all ecstasy tablets contain MDMA, and the effects may be unexpected.
- Do not mix alcohol with ecstasy or other drugs.