Ecstasy (MDMA)

Know the facts about Ecstasy/MDMA and connect with help and support to keep your child safe.

What are some slang terms?
Ecstasy, Adam, E, Molly, Roll, X, XTC

What is it?
MDMA or Ecstasy (3-4-methylenedioxymethampheta-mine), is a synthetic, psychoactive drug with amphetamine-like and hallucinogenic properties.

What does it look like?
Ecstasy comes in a tablet form that is often branded, e.g. Playboy bunnies, Nike swoosh, CK. MDMA also comes in a powder, capsule or liquid form.

How is it used?
Teens and young adults sometimes take Ecstasy in pill form at “raves,” clubs and other parties to keep on dancing and for mood enhancement.

What do young people hear about it?
Teens and young adults hear that Ecstasy produces intensely pleasurable effects — including a boost in energy and empathy. People who use Ecstasy say they experience feelings of closeness with others and a desire to touch others.

What are the risks?
Effects of using Ecstasy can include involuntary teeth clenching, a loss of inhibitions, nausea, blurred vision, chills and/or sweating. Increases in heart rate and blood pressure, as well as seizures, are also possible. The stimulant effects of the drug enable a person to dance for extended periods, which when combined with the hot crowded conditions usually found at raves, can lead to severe dehydration and hyperthermia (i.e. dramatic increases in body temperature). This can lead to muscle breakdown and kidney, liver and cardiovascular failure. Hyperthermia has also been reported in some of the Ecstasy-related deaths. After-effects can include sleep problems, anxiety and depression.

Repeated use of Ecstasy ultimately may damage the cells that produce the brain chemical serotonin, which has an important role in the regulation of mood, appetite, learning and memory. There is research suggesting Ecstasy use can disrupt or interfere with memory.

In many cases, people who purchase powder or capsules sold as Molly get other drugs such as “Bath Salts” instead. Because the drug promotes a feeling of trust and closeness, its use may encourage unsafe sexual behavior, increasing the risk of contracting or transmitting HIV/AIDS or hepatitis.

Researchers are studying MDMA in clinical trials as a possible treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anxiety in terminally ill patients, and for social anxiety in autistic adults.

What are signs of use?

  • Involuntary teeth clenching
  • Loss of inhibitions
  • Nausea
  • Blurred vision
  • Chills and/or sweating
  • Increases in heart rate and blood pressure
  • Sleep problems
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
Source: National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA); Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)

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Next Steps

Risk Factors & Why Teens Use

Identify whether your child could be at higher risk for drug or alcohol use, and learn common reasons for why young people may use.

Look for Warning Signs

Do you think your child may be using drugs? If so, have you noticed any of these changes or warning signs?