What Is It?

Ecstasy is an illegal drug that has effects similar to hallucinogens and stimulants. Ecstasy’s scientific name is “MDMA” or methylenedioxymethamphetamine. That word is almost as long as the all-night dance club “raves” or “trances” where ecstasy is often used. That’s why ecstasy is called a “club drug.”

MDMA is synthetic. It does not come from a plant like marijuana does. MDMA is a chemical made in secret labs hidden around the country. Other chemicals or substances are often added to or substituted for MDMA in ecstasy tablets, such as caffeine, dextromethorphan (cough syrup), amphetamines, and even cocaine. Makers of ecstasy can add anything they want to the drug. So the purity of ecstasy is always in question.

What Are the Common Street Names?

Slang words for ecstasy are E, XTC, X, Adam, hug, beans, clarity, lover’s speed, and love drug.

How Is It Used?
Ecstasy is usually taken by mouth in a pill, tablet, or capsule. These pills can be different colors, and sometimes the pills have cartoon-like images on them. Called “bumping,” some MDMA users take more than one pill at a time.

How Many Teens Use It?
According to a 2002 NIDA-funded study, some teens are getting smart and turning their backs on ecstasy. For 10th graders in this NIDA-funded study, use of MDMA dropped from 6.2% in 2001 to 4.9% in 2002. There was also a drop in use by 8th graders (from 3.5% to 2.9%) and 12th graders (from 9.2% to 7.4%) compared to 2001. How many students in these grades have ever tried ecstasy?

A 2002 NIDA study reported that 4.3% of 8th graders, 6.6% of 10th graders, and 10.5% of 12th graders had tried MDMA at least once in their life.

Is MDMA Addictive?
Like other stimulant drugs, MDMA appears to have the ability to cause addiction. That is, people continue to take the drug despite experiencing unpleasant side effects, and other social, behavioral, and health consequences.

No one knows how many times a person can use a drug before becoming addicted to it or who is most vulnerable to addiction. A person’s genetic makeup, their living environment, and other factors probably play a role in their susceptibility to addiction.


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