Unlike GHB, methylenedioxymethamphetamine, better known as MDMA or Ecstasy, currently has no legitimate medical uses. As a recreational drug, Ecstasy is abused for its effects as a stimulant, aphrodisiac, and euphoriant. Peaks effects can be felt in as little as 30 minutes and may last up to 8 hours.
Ecstasy may be the most popular party drug on the planet. In 2014, as many as 29 million people around the world used Ecstasy. In one study, nearly 9 out of 10 rave attendees self-report having used Ecstasy at least once, with HALF reporting past-month use.
Part of the reason for Ecstasy’s popularity is the mistaken assumption that it is a “safe” drug. On the contrary, “X” can be extremely dangerous. Between 2005 and 2011, for example, the number of emergency room visits involving Ecstasy jumped by 128%.
Significantly, about a third of these ER trips also involved alcohol.
Signs of Ecstasy overdose include:
- Panic attacks
- Extremely high blood pressure
- Irregular heartbeat
- Renal failure
- Hyperthermia—elevated body temperature
- Severe dehydration
Annually in America, there are approximately 23,000 ER trips involving MDMA. Scores have deaths have been reported, primarily due to hyperthermia and dehydration. Of special note, because the duration of effects is so long, taking multiple doses can result in a toxic accumulation in the blood, increasing the likelihood of adverse effects.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, MDMA abuse is also associated with an increase in risky behaviors—more sexual partners, unprotected sex, and injection drug use.