Know the facts, connect with resources, and get support to help you address known or suspected Ecstasy use with your child.

    MDMA or Ecstasy (3-4-methylenedioxymethampheta-mine), is a synthetic, psychoactive drug with amphetamine-like and hallucinogenic properties.[1] Ecstasy typically 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. Its use is often associated with “raves” and club culture.[2]

    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.

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    Understand 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.[2]

    Identify and address use

    Signs of Ecstasy use include involuntary teeth clenching, a loss of inhibitions, chills and/or sweating, increases in heart rate and blood pressure, and anxiety. If you’re concerned your child may be using ecstasy or other substances, the following resources can prepare you to address the behavior more effectively.

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    Last Updated

    October 2020

    [1]The National Institute on Drug Abuse Blog Team. “MDMA (Ecstasy or Molly).” Drugs & Health Blog, National Institute on Drug Abuse, https://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/mdma-ecstasy-or-molly. Accessed 1 Nov. 2018.
    [2]NIDA. “Commonly Abused Drugs Chart.” National Institute on Drug Abuse, July 2018, https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/commonly-abused-drugs-charts#mdma-ecstasy-molly-. Accessed 26 Oct. 2018.
    Additional sources:
    National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA); Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA); U.S. National Library of Medicine

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