Ecstasy might give people a ‘rush’ but there are also effects that aren’t so good including feeling sick and tremors.
‘Ecstasy’ is a drug called MDMA, which is like amphetamine. What you are sold as ecstasy might include a wide range of drugs, as there is no control over the ingredients, their quality or their safety. This increases the chance that you will overdose, be poisoned or have other bad reactions. Ecstasy is an illegal drug, so you can be charged for possessing, making or selling it.
Ecstasy is usually supplied as pills or powder. The pills come in different colours and many have pictures or logos stamped into them. Pills are usually swallowed, but some people grind and then snort them.
Ecstasy gives people an ‘energy burst’, making them feel alert and alive. It makes sounds and colours more intense. People feel more talkative or sociable, and often feel closer to others.
Effects that aren’t so good include:
It can be hard to tell whether the effects are from ecstasy or the other drugs that might have been included in the pill.
Dehydration and overheating is an important problem with ecstasy. Signs include feeling hot or confused, not sweating, headaches, being unable to urinate, your pulse rate not slowing down even when resting, vomiting, fainting, collapsing and having ‘fits’.
Drinking lots of water to overcome these feelings can also be dangerous, as it changes the body’s salt balance and causes a new set of problems. You can reduce the risks by sipping water slowly and regularly.
If you experience any of these symptoms, get a friend to stay with you until you feel better, slowly sip cool water, and rest in a quiet, cool place. If the symptoms continue and you don’t cool down, find the first-aid area (if at a rave/party) or if there is none, go straight to hospital.
Ecstasy can kill you through dehydration and overheating.
Deaths are also caused by other substances that are mixed with the drug, or if pills contain other drugs like PMA. PMA (‘red Mitsubishi’ or ‘red death’) is dangerous. It is often sold as ecstasy as it is simpler and cheaper to make. Its effects include hallucinations, delirium, restlessness, agitation, muscle contractions, stiffness, sweating, high fever, seizures, coma and death.
Repeated use of ecstasy can cause health and mental health problems including:
If you, your family or your friends think your drug use is becoming a problem, then get some help and talk to people about it. Changing your drug use can be hard work, but it will be worth it.
Some people can reduce or stop drug use on their own, but think about talking to a trusted family member, friend, doctor or counsellor.
© headspace National Youth Mental Health Foundation Ltd
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