Other names: Mandy, Molly, E, Pills, Mitsibishis, Supermen

MDMA (3,4 Methylenedioxymethamphetamine), often referred to ecstasy, is a stimulant and normally seen as a party/club drug.

BBC Video: How Not to Die From Ecstasy

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MDMA is normally a tablet or capsule. The tablets are sold in a variety of different colours and shapes, often with a wide range of logos or symbols on them. MDMA can also be bought in powder/crystal form, which is normally off-white/yellowish in colour.

Common effects are feelings of increased happiness, energy, sensual awareness and feeling connected to others. The use of MDMA is associated with a number of unwanted effects including dehydration, anxiety, paranoia, risk taking and confusion.

MDMA is usually taken orally in tablet or capsule form. In its powder form, it tends to be snorted or wrapped in paper and swallowed ‘bombed’.

• You can never be sure exactly what you are taking. Sometimes different drugs are sold as MDMA and these often take longer to work or give stronger effects. If you take MDMA but feel no effects, do not take more – the onset may be delayed due to having taken something different. Taking more may increase the amount of the drug in your body and put you at increased risk of harm.

• Short-term risks of ecstasy can include anxiety, panic attacks, paranoia and confused states.

• If you suffer from any kind of heart condition you should avoid stimulant drugs like MDMA.

• The comedown from ecstasy can cause people to feel lethargic and low in mood.

• Long-term use has been associated with liver damage, depression and memory impairments.

• MDMA alters the body’s temperature control. This can lead to overheating or dehydrating, which can be fatal. Some people overcompensate by drinking too much water which can be equally as dangerous.

• If you choose to use MDMA, then use it in a safe environment and in the company of someone you trust. Ideally, this person will not have used the substance themselves and will be in a position to get help if things go wrong.

• If you do use it; start low and go slow - take small amounts first to test strength and effects. Do not take any more if the effects are slow to appear - other drugs are often sold as MDMA and their effects can take a lot longer to come on.

• The use of MDMA with alcohol or other substances should be avoided.

• If using MDMA and dancing then take regular breaks to cool down.

• Although it is important to drink lots of non-alcoholic fluids when using MDMA, be aware that drinking too much can also be dangerous.

• If you suffer from any kind of heart condition you should avoid stimulant drugs like MDMA.

• MDMA can interact with certain medications, particularly anti-depressants, and cause a potentially life-threatening condition called serotonin syndrome. If you regularly use any medication, do some research before using ecstasy so you are aware of the potential risks.

• If someone is suffering bad effects like convulsions, panic attacks or unconsciousness, then seek urgent medical attention.