Ecstasy

7 pills positioned randomly on a desk with a multicoloured swirl background
Illustration of some Ecstacy tablets
Remember: this drug is illegal!
Ecstacy first became popular in the late 1980's with the advent of house music and raves. It was seen as a 'happy drug' and clubbers liked it because it made them have a heightened sense of music and sound, made them want to dance for hours and also made them seem to love everyone around them. Ecstacy's medical name is 3,4 methylene-dioxymethamphetamine or MDMA and it comes in tablets with pictures stamped on it. MDMA tells your brain to flood itself with massive amounts of serotonin, the natural chemical which keeps you happy. You get a big rush of happiness and uncontrolled love for everyone. This lasts between 3 to 6 hours, then your tanks are empty and you feel grotty for a week while your brain makes some more seretonin. Ecstacy is almost always mixed with other things before it is turned into the pills people buy - this can be anything: aspirin, sleeping pills, speed, dog worming pills and a lot else besides. This is a major problem as you don't know what is in the tablet until you have taken it. E needs to be made in a laboratory but the process of making it can easily go wrong, and can produce some other nasty chemicals which severely damage your brain.

Amazing fact: Many recent top club tunes were programmed to sound better on Ecstacy.

Effects of ecstasy

Cross section of the brain with a swirly multicoloured background

Remember: this drug is illegal!
E causes your pupils to dilate, your jaw muscles to tighten (and your jaw to move around in a strange way - something people call gurning), your body temperature to rise and your heart to race. It can cause anxiety, panic attacks, confused episodes and paranoid or psychotic states. It can affect the hormones in your body - dancing a lot whilst on E makes you feel hot and makes you drink water and there have been deaths due to drinking too much water which causes water intoxication. E can also cause liver and heart failure - both of which can kill you. If you have epilepsy taking an E can be fatal. Large amounts of E damage your brain's serotonin system permanently - people can then suffer long term depression and personality changes.

There have been over 200 deaths due to ecstacy in the last 10 years in the UK

The law on ecstasy

A judges gavel on a desk with a multicoloured swirl background

Remember: this drug is illegal!
The Law takes E very seriously - it is a Class A drug like heroin or cocaine. This can mean that you can get a very heavy fine or up to 7 years for possessing it and up to Life in prison for supplying it - which includes giving it to anyone as well as selling it.