Ecstasy

Ecstasy is a street term for a range of drugs that are similar in structure to MDMA (methylenedioxymethamphetamine). Ecstasy is similar in structure and affect to amphetamines and (in high doses) hallucinogens. Ecstasy is a stimulant drug that speeds up the activity of the brain and other parts of the central nervous system.

Ecstasy is a synthetic (man made) drug, developed in laboratories. Ingredients are often hard to obtain. Therefore, manufacturers may substitute a wide range of substances when making the drug. It is possible that when you buy ecstasy it will contain little MDMA. Swallowing is the most common way that ecstasy is used. Ecstasy tablets are also crushed and snorted. They are sometimes inserted into the anus (known as "shafting" or "shelving").

Effects of ecstasy

The effects of any drug (including ecstasy) can vary from person to person. Because ecstasy is commonly taken prior to, or during, dance or "rave" parties, the stimulant effects are likely to increase. Hence, the person taking the drug may be more prone to prolonged and vigorous dancing, further exacerbating some of the dangers listed below. The effects of ecstasy usually begin within 20 minutes of taking the drug, and may last up to 6 hours. Some people have reported symptoms persisting for 32 hours after using ecstasy.

There are usually three phases:

  • coming up: where the effects can be smooth and bumpy, and users may feel a rush
  • plateau: where the user may feel good, happy, relaxed
  • coming down: where the user may feel physically exhausted, depressed, irritable.

Long-term effects

Research indicates that few people tend to use ecstasy for a long time. This is possibly due to the severity of undesirable effects, which tend to increase the longer ecstasy use continues, while the pleasurable effects diminish. A person taking ecstasy regularly may find that they are not eating or sleeping enough and are neglecting their health. They may become "run down", have reduced energy levels and be more susceptible to colds, 'flu and infections.

Tolerance and dependence

There is evidence that people can become psychologically dependent on ecstasy and it can be very difficult for them to stop or decrease their use. Physical dependence occurs when a person's body gets used to functioning with the drug present. At present, there is no conclusive evidence that people can become physically dependent on ecstasy.

Sources of information: DrugInfo Clearinghouse - Australian Drug Foundation

 

Ecstasy information by the Australian Drug Foundation - Drug Info Clearinghouse

The Australian Drug Foundation is a national service to help prevent alcohol and other drug problems, and reduce alcohol and other drug harms in the community. Below is a link to their information page about Ecstasy, it's effects, withdrawal and treatment.

http://www.druginfo.adf.org.au/drug-facts/ecstasy

Ecstasy fact sheet by the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC)

NDARC conducts research and related activities that increases the effectiveness of Australian and International treatment and other intervention responses to alcohol and other drug related harm. Below is a link to the NDARC general fact sheet about ecstasy.

https://ndarc.med.unsw.edu.au/resource/ecstasy

Ecstasy information by DanceSafe

DanceSafe is a US based nonprofit, harm reduction organization promoting health and safety within the rave and nightclub community. Below is a link to their information page about Ecstasy.

http://www.dancesafe.org/ecstasy/

Information about Ecstasy by Reachout

Reach Out! is an initiative of the Inspire Foundation. The aim of the service is to improve young people's mental health and well being by providing support, information and referrals. Below is a link to their detailed information page about Ecstasy.

http://au.reachout.com/ecstasy

If you are worried that someone you know might be using Ecstacy, it may be difficult to know what to do. Helping someone who is not ready to change their behaviour may be difficult and the decision for them to get help is ultimately theirs.

If you approach the person you are concerned about there are several things you may want to consider before doing so.

Be informed - Gather information about Ecstacy and it's effects so you can see the signs that someone has been using. It will also help if the person you are trying assist knows that you understand the effects of the drug and what they might be experiencing.

Discuss ecstacy use openly - Try and ascertain if the person is using ecstacy regularly or is using it on a recreational basis. Try not to discuss your concerns whilst the person is affected by the drug or is ‘coming down'.

Letting the person you are concerned about know that you are open to listening to them without being judgmental.

Speak to a counsellor yourself first - Sometimes it is sensible to seek help and advice yourself if someone's behaviour due to a drug problem is impacting your life.

Reference: Reach Out! website

DanceSafe

DanceSafe is a US based nonprofit, harm reduction organisation promoting health and safety within the rave and nightclub community.

http://www.dancesafe.org/

DrugInfo Clearinghouse - Australian Drug Foundation

DrugInfo Clearinghouse is a service provided by the Australian Drug Foundation. It functions as a drug prevention network providing information about alcohol, other drugs, and drug prevention.

http://druginfo.adf.org.au/

Headspace

A community based service for people aged 12 - 25 and their families, Headspace provides help for issues including health, education, work, mental health and drug & alcohol use.

http://www.headspace.org.au

National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC)

NDARC conducts research and related activities that increases the effectiveness of Australian and international treatment and intervention responses to alcohol and other drug related harm.

http://ndarc.med.unsw.edu.au/

Reach Out!

An initiative of the Inspire Foundation, Reach Out! is a web based service that provides information, support and interactive features to help young people get through tough times.

http://au.reachout.com/

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