XTC - Ecstasy

MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine) is a synthetic, psychoactive drug chemically similar to the stimulant methamphetamine and the hallucinogen mescaline. MDMA is an illegal drug that acts as both a stimulant and psychedelic, producing an energizing effect, as well as distortions in time and perception and enhanced enjoyment from tactile experiences. Adolescents and young adults use it to promote euphoria, feelings of closeness, empathy, sexuality and to reduce inhibitions. It is considered a "party drug" and obtained at "rave" or "techno" parties. However, its abuse has expanded, to include other settings outside of the rave scenes, such as a college campus.

Although MDMA is known universally among users as ecstasy, researchers have determined that many ecstasy tablets contain not only MDMA but also a number of other drugs or drug combinations that can be harmful as well. Adulterants found in MDMA tablets purchased on the street include methamphetamine, caffeine, the over-the-counter cough suppressant dextromethorphan, the diet drug ephedrine, and cocaine. Also, as with many other drugs of abuse, MDMA is rarely used alone. It is not uncommon for users to mix MDMA with other substances, such as alcohol and marijuana.

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MDMA, Ecstasy, XTC, E, X, Beans, Adams, Hug Drug, Disco Biscuit, Go


In high doses, MDMA can interfere with the body’s ability to regulate temperature. On rare but unpredictable occasions, this can lead to a sharp increase in body temperature (hyperthermia), resulting in liver, kidney, and cardiovascular system failure, and death.

Because MDMA can interfere with its own metabolism (breakdown within the body), potentially harmful levels can be reached by repeated drug use within short intervals.

Users of MDMA face many of the same risks as users of other stimulants such as cocaine and amphetamines. These include increases in heart rate and blood pressure, a special risk for people with circulatory problems or heart disease, and other symptoms such as muscle tension, involuntary teeth clenching, nausea, blurred vision, faintness, and chills or sweating.

Almost 60 percent of people who use MDMA report withdrawal symptoms, including fatigue, loss of appetite, depressed feelings, and trouble concentrating.

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Research in animals links MDMA exposure to long-term damage to neurons that are involved in mood, thinking, and judgment. A study in nonhuman primates showed that exposure to MDMA for only 4 days caused damage to serotonin nerve terminals that was evident 6 to 7 years later. While similar neurotoxicity has not been definitively shown in humans, the wealth of animal research indicating MDMA’s damaging properties suggests that MDMA is not a safe drug for human consumption.

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Seized MDMA in the U.S. is primarily manufactured in clandestine laboratories in the Netherlands and Belgium. MDMA destined to the U.S. from the Netherlands is transferred through Germany and Poland and smuggled into the U.S. via body carriers, by air/sea cargo, luggage, and by express mail. Another significant source country is Canada. Operation Candy Box identified an international drug trafficking organization through which up to one million MDMA tablets per month were smuggled into the U.S. A small number of MDMA clandestine laboratories have also been identified operating in the U.S.

DMA is available in every region of the country, principally in large metropolitan areas. Miami, New York, and Los Angeles the primary market areas for MDMA smuggled into the U.S. from Western European. Florida leads the nation in MDMA seizures. International traffickers use south Florida as a base of operations for the importation and distribution of MDMA.

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Among students surveyed as part of the 2005 Monitoring the Future study, 2.8% of eighth graders, 4.0% of tenth graders, and 5.4% of twelfth graders reported lifetime use of MDMA. In 2004, these percentages were 2.8%, 4.3%, and 7.5%, respectively.

Forty percent of eighth graders, 51.4% of tenth graders, and 60.1% of twelfth graders surveyed in 2005 reported that trying MDMA once or twice was a "great risk."

The Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance (YRBS) study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) surveys high school students on several risk factors including drug and alcohol use. Results of the 2005 survey indicate that 6.3% of high school students reported using MDMA at some point in their lifetimes. This is down from 11.1% in 2003.

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