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What are the signs and symptoms of ecstasy abuse?

Ecstasy, aka XTC, aka MDMA (Methylenedioxymethamphetamine), aka X, aka Molly, is a synthetic, hybrid CNS (Central Nervous System) stimulant and psychedelic. It is popular to use at raves, or underground dance clubs, to the accompaniments of Techno-industrial music, strobe lights, and alcohol, LSD, and cannabis.

What are the effects of ecstasy on the user?

  • Produces pleasure/reward and euphoria
  • Sense of well-being & peace
  • Energy and excitement 
  • Perceptual changes, both visual distortion and tactile enhancement. 
  • Disinhibition; a desire to say whatever you are feeling.
  • More open expression of emotions
  • Hyposalivation or dry mouth and extreme thirst.
  • Fever
  • Bruxism, or jaw grinding ( ecstasy users will often put baby pacifiers in their mouths)
  • Nystagmus or pupils which bounce horizontally when the eyes move.  
  • Diaphoresis, or sweating 
  • Nausea
  • Hyper-sexuality or increased sexual desire.

Description of the drug ecstasy

MDMA is a white powder, loose, in capsules, or pressed into tablets. The appearance will vary due to differences in manufacturing and/or adulterants. Ecstasy tablets will come in multiple shapes, sizes and colors, with the manufacturer’s unique lettering, numbers or symbols imprinted into the tablet. 

How is ecstasy used?

Typically ecstasy is taken orally as a tablet, but it can be snorted as a powder, so the powder can be injected by mixing it with a liquid medium.  

How long ecstasy takes to work, and how long it lasts?

Ecstasy will begin working in 30-45 minutes when taken orally. The effects of Ecstasy will persist for about four to six hours. 

Short-term and long-term risks of using ecstasy

Ecstasy is not a harmless fun drug. The possible short-term effects include:

  • CVA (Stroke)/MI (Heart attack)
  • Hypertension (dangerously elevated blood pressure)
  • Panic attack
  • Anxiety
  • Dehydration 
  • Rape due to loss of inhibition, enhanced sense of touch, and enhanced sexual desire
  • STI/Pregnancy (unwanted) 

What about Molly?

Supposedly, Molly is pure MDMA, which is widely sought after by users, who will pay a premium for it. It is important to remember three things:

  1. Illicit drugs are adulterated to maximize volume, weight and profit. An adulterant can be a harmless, inert substance, or a psychoactive substance. MDMA is often cut with methamphetamine, as methamphetamine is much less expensive, but can be sold for ecstasy. 
  2. Drug dealers sometimes lie about the quality of their product. This is surprising but true. 
  3. There is very selective perception at work when the same people who are concerned about GMO’s and gluten will buy an unknown substance from a stranger at a party or club.