Ecstasy is known by its street names E, pills, XTC, doves and many others depending on the ‘brand’.
Ecstasy is the popular name for MDMA or methylenedioxymethamphetamine, a chemical belonging to the amphetamine family. Though numerous classifications exist, it is usually classified as an ‘empathogen’, i.e. a drug which produces marked feelings of empathy or emotional understanding in and between individuals. For this reason, one of Ecstasy‘s early uses was as tool in psychotherapy.
Something of a cross between a stimulant and a psychedelic, the drug became well known in the 1980s and 90s as an element of the rave or dance culture, where its use alongside music and dancing led to claims of its life-changing potentials; these were linked to experiences in which users felt that ego-boundaries separating them were dissolved allowing intense interpersonal closeness, a condition known as being ‘loved-up’. The drug has also been associated with increased self-understanding. Critics claim that the long-term health effects- particularly its effects on the brain- are unknown, and urge caution. It also raised blood pressure and causes dry mouth. Its effect in the club environment of long spells of dancing and diuretic-use may lead to dehydration and dangerous high body temperature.
The drug appears in a wide variety of tablets and capsules, and increasingly as a powder. It is usually used orally or intra nasally (as a powder).
Ecstasy is a Class A, schedule 1 drug. Possession, supply and production offences are illegal.
Possession of Class A drugs carries a maximum sentence of 7 years imprisonment and/a fine. Trafficking offences carry a maximum sentence of life imprisonment and a fine.
Free, confidential information and advice is available by calling the Release Drugs Helpline on 0845 45 00 215