Ecstasy FAQ

Doesn't ecstasy contain heroin, speed and cocaine?

Heroin and cocaine have never been found in ecstasy in laboratory tests, even though press reports occasionally say otherwise. Speed and Ketamine have been found in ecstasy on different occasions. Ketamine's groggy, dissociative effects are often reminiscent of feelings one experiences when using heroin, a fact that has helped perpetuate the rumor.

Why doesn't Ecstasy get me high anymore?

Many users feel Ecstasy isn't as strong as it used to be, though purity tests suggest the average MDMA content has changed little over the years. Users quickly build up a tolerance to the drug, requiring more E to reach the same euphoric effects once experienced after a single dose. Also, the novelty and surprise qualities of a person's first few experiences are unlikely to be repeated, unless use is very infrequent (once or twice a year).

How can you know what you are taking?

The only way to know the true nature and chemical make-up of the Ecstasy you are taking is to use a testing kit. This contains a chemical agent that changes color when mixed with MDMA (or variants MDA, MDEA and MBDB), Speed or 2CB. The resulting color change shows what the pill contains. The kits are legal to possess, but their use obviously involves possession. In Holland, the Government subsidizes pill tests in an attempt to protect users against contaminated pills.

How long does ecstasy remain in the body?

Less than 1% remains after 48 hours. This amount will not be detectable in blood or urine samples. However, Ecstasy users may test positive for amphetamines in the standard drug test.

Is ecstasy addictive?

Technically, Ecstasy is not considered a physically addictive drug. The body will not crave more, or become dependent with repeated use. There is a psychological danger, however, that users can start to like it too much and crave the emotional contentment that it provides. Craving the next party, mood swings and inability to concentrate on the task at hand are all symptoms of a psychological addiction to Ecstasy.

How many people die from using ecstasy? Isn't it very risky?

Statistics culled from the United States and the United Kingdom report only 7 ecstasy-related deaths per million users of the drug. This is an interesting figure when compared to the 625 alcohol-related deaths per million drinkers that occur each year.

What causes Ecstasy-related deaths?

Complications from overheating, often alongside heavy alcohol consumption, is the most common cause of Ecstasy-related death. However, drinking too much water in an attempt to stay "safe" is even more dangerous. Some inexperienced users have died after drinking as much water as they physically after ingesting the drug. In one reported case, a user died after drinking 26 glasses of water in a short space of time. The excess water causes the brain to swell inside the skull, which puts pressure on the brain stem and leads to coma and death.

Deaths involving contaminants are rare but do happen, as do deaths involving drugs cocktails (ecstasy and DXM, and ecstasy, cocaine and Viagra are the current dangerous mixes) See Safe Dancing guide.

Does sex on ecstasy result in impotence or inability to orgasm?

No, although some frequent users get so used to the heightened sensations of sex on ecstasy that they find non-ecstasy sex unsatisfying in comparison. In a similar way, someone who is heavily involved in fetish sex might find normal sex dull.

Does ecstasy cause any problems with contraceptive pills?

No, there are no complications or interactions between ecstasy and the contraceptive pill used by women.

I'm on anti-depressants. Is there any danger from taking E?

It depends on which ones. Prozac is safe to use with ecstasy, as are other SSRI-based anti-depressants. Many users report lessened effects, although the reasons why are unknown. Prozac can be used to bring the E high to an artificially quick finish. Research suggests that Prozac may reduce any neuro-toxicity the Ecstasy may cause. Ecstasy should not be taken with MAOI anti-depressants.

I've heard E is "neurotoxic" -- what does that mean?

"Neurotoxic" is applied to any substance that causes temporary or permanent changes in the brain. Animal tests have shown MDMA to be neurotoxic in large amounts. Nobody is sure at what level MDMA becomes neurotoxic in humans, but even moderate ecstasy use can cause memory-impairments.

Every time I've taken Ecstasy (twice now) I've experienced panic attacks. Is this normal?

It's quite unusual for people to experience anxiety on E, but it does happen. Like any mood-altering substance, your environment and how you feel mentally can affect the experience, or shift it abruptly from good to bad. Typically, advice for using ecstasy states that a calm, relaxed environment among people you know and trust will be less likely to result in unpleasant feelings. Alcohol is believed to increase the chances of anxiety or discomfort when used in conjunction. Users report that deep-breathing and music they enjoy reduce tension. If you experience panic attacks or extensive anxiety it could be that E is just not for you.

My sister has been using cocaine & ecstasy at the same time and recently her doctor has put her on Zoloft for depression not knowing of the drug problem. Is this a dangerous combination?

There are no direct physical dangers from mixing Zoloft and Ecstasy (MDMA). Zoloft (or to use its chemical name, Sertraline) is an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), the same class of anti-depressants as Prozac (Flouxetine), Celexa (Citalopram Hydrobromide), Luvox (Fluvoxamine) and Paxil (Paroxetine). These chemicals will actually reduce or even completely eliminate the effects of Ecstasy when the two are taken together. Celexa, in particular is sometimes used to treat cocaine-dependency and may reduce cocaine effects and craving.

Cocaine works on the dopamine system in the brain to produce its effects and MDMA has no direct effect on this system, although dopamine does play a role in the MDMA effect. Cocaine, however, does increase heart-rate and blood pressure that may cause physical problems in an unfit person.

Perhaps more importantly, long term, both cocaine and ecstasy cause significant crashes and depression after use, in different ways. There are consistent reports, both anecdotal and scientific, that constant or binge ecstasy use is linked to depressed mood. Cocaine causes noticeable mood-swings and crashes on a next few days basis for occasional users, and long-term mood problems for chronic users.

Is it dangerous to take ecstasy if you have asthma?

Anecdotal reports seem to suggest that there are no particular problems or direct physical dangers for asthmatics taking ecstasy. However many asthma inhalers (such as Ventolin or Salbutamol) use amphetamine-like chemicals which increase heart rate and blood pressure and may not be wise to combine with Ecstasy.

Are you using Ecstasy and unable to stop? - If so, get in touch with our free, confidential helpline today at 1-844-343-4915 and learn how you can get the professional Ecstasy addiction treatment in your area.

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