Ecstasy: What Parents Need to Know

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What It Is:

Ecstasy (3, 4-methylenedioxy-N-methamphetamine, or MDMA) is a drug that is illegally made.

Ecstasy is a stimulant drug that can cause hallucinations. It is known as a designer drug because it was created for the purpose of making someone feel high. The drug is popular with teens and young adults who go to clubs, concerts, or "rave" parties.

Users think the drug will make them feel good and enable them to keep going for days without rest. But people who use Ecstasy don't realize how dangerous this drug actually is.

Ecstasy has become one of the most common illegal drugs sold on the streets. In the last few years, Ecstasy has sent many young people to emergency rooms because of its dangerous side effects. Ecstasy can kill.

Sometimes Called:

XTC, X, Adam, E, Roll, A, 007

How It's Used:

Ecstasy can be swallowed (pill or tablet) or snorted (powder).

What It Does:

Ecstasy is both a hallucinogenic and a stimulant drug. It makes users experience a rush of good feelings (a high) and makes feelings much more intense, whether they're good or bad. The drug's effects usually last up to 6 hours.

Ecstasy increases heart rate and can cause dry mouth, clenched teeth, blurred vision, chills, sweating, or nausea. It can make some users feel anxious, confused, and paranoid, like someone is trying to hurt them or is plotting against them. Ecstasy may cause damage to brain cells that are involved in thinking and memory.

If a person takes Ecstasy, his or her body can dangerously overheat during dancing or other physical activities, which can lead to muscle breakdown, kidney, liver and heart damage, and even death. Taking the drug can cause seizures, brain swelling and permanent brain damage.

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: January 2014

Related Resources

OrganizationPartnership for a Drugfree America This site features information about drugs and their effects and treatments. The site also shows paraphernalia associated with different drugs and includes personal stories.
OrganizationNational Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) NIDA offers a science-based drug abuse education program for students, news, information, and resources.
OrganizationNational Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information This organization provides resources and referrals related to drug and alcohol abuse. Call: (800) 729-6686
Web SiteAddiction Help Line Submit a request for a referral on this site, and it will help direct you to the nearest and most appropriate treatment centers.

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Talking to Your Child About Drugs Just as you inoculate your kids against illnesses like measles, you can help "immunize" them against drug use by giving them the facts now.
Is It Ever OK for Pregnant Women to Take Recreational Drugs? Find out what the experts have to say.
GHB: What Parents Need to Know GHB, gamma hydroxybutyrate, is a popular club and date rape drug that can be deadly.

Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

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