Ecstasy is also called X, XTC, E, Eccy, M, adam, bean, roll, hugs, love drug and MDMA. Ecstasy is taken in the form of pills or powder and is commonly taken at dance parties, clubs and raves. Check out this page for more information about ecstasy, the side effects and staying safe.

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Stew for you - Ecstasy

The Ecstasy. Face Facts short film competition asked young Australians how they would warn their mates about the dangers of taking ecstasy. This film -- Stew for You -- was the competition winner.

For help or information visit http://www.australia.gov.au/drugs

  • Author: Department of Health and Ageing
  • Upload Date: 05/07/2010

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Ecstasy Information

What is ecstasy?

ecstasy informationEcstasy, or MDMA (methylenedioxymethamphetamine) is a 'psychedelic amphetamine' - it has properties of both hallucinogen and amphetamine drugs. Amphetamines make you feel more awake and alert, while hallucinogens can change your perception of reality. Check out our amphetamines page for more information.

Ecstasy is also called X, XTC, E, Eccy, M, adam, bean, roll, hugs, love drug and MDMA. Also, different suppliers can have different names for each of the hundreds of batches of the drug, e.g. "red china men," "pacman" etc. They often come in lots of different colours with pictures imprinted on the pill - often to match its 'name'. Ecstasy is taken in the form of pills or powder and is commonly taken at dance parties, clubs and raves.

The effects of ecstasy

The effects of ecstasy vary from person to person. The effects may be depend on:

  • your size (height and weight)
  • whether you have eaten
  • whether other drugs have been taken
  • how much of the drug is taken
  • how it is taken ie. swallowed or injected
  • how pure the drug is - as MDMA is commonly mixed with other drugs, such as amphetamines or ketamine (an anaesthetic), or impurities such as chalk to help bind it into a pill
  • whether you are used to using the drug
  • the environment, in which the drug is taken, ie at a dance party or in a quieter place.

Some people appear to be more susceptible to the not so good effects of ecstasy. Those that should avoid ecstasy are:

  • people who experience high blood pressure
  • a heart condition
  • hypertension
  • diabetes
  • asthma
  • epilepsy
  • depression or other mental illness
  • kidney problems

Immediate effects of ecstasy

Usually the affects of ecstasy start within an hour of taking the drug and they may last between 3-6 hours. It is important to remember that this varies from person to person.

Some of the immediate effects of taking ecstasy might include:

  • increased feelings of confidence and wellbeing
  • increased feeling of closeness to others
  • faster heart rate and sweating
  • clenched jaw or teeth grinding
  • higher body temperature (over heating) and blood pressure
  • feeling sick
  • feeling anxious or paranoid
  • dehydration
  • not being able to sleep (insomnia)
  • hallucinations - seeing, hearing or sensing things that are not really there
  • kidney failure

Crashing or coming down from ecstasy

ectasy information coming down from ecstasy

What is it like coming down from ectasy?

Some users of ecstasy experience a dramatic worsening of mood as the peak effects wear off (often called 'crashing' or 'coming down'). This is caused by both physiological and psychological factors. Physiologically, all the serotonin and stimulants (that have made you happy and have given you lots of energy) have been absorbed or used up by the brain, which makes you feel sad, scared, annoyed and exhausted afterwards.

Psychologicaly, you feel sad because you are coming down from a wonderful experience, and don't want the feelings to go away. Crashes do not happen after every experience and some users never experience them. One of the primary problems associated with crashing is that some users find themselves redosing in order to stave it off and avoid going through coming down.


You might experience a hangover for a day and up to a week after you have taken ecstasy. You might feel:

  • depressed
  • tired (but can't sleep)
  • find it hard to concentrate
  • lose your appetite
  • muscle aches

Ecstasy + tolerance

The more often you take ecstasy the more likely it is that you will develop a tolerance for it. This means that you need to take a higher dose to get the same level of pleasurable affects, it is also likely that the hangover will become more powerful. Taking higher doses of ecstasy may be dangerous as they can produce hallucinations, irrational behaviour, vomiting and convulsions.

Doing it anyway? Tips for staying safe.

If you or your friends do decide to take ecstasy, it's important that you keep safe and look after yourself and each other, especially if you're at a club or rave.

This includes:

  • Sipping water regularly rather than drinking a lot all at once. A sports or electrolyte drink can be also be helpful because it replaces essential electrolytes that you lose through sweat
  • If you're dancing, sipping a total of around 500ml water an hour; if inactive sipping up to 250ml an hour
  • Wearing light, loose clothing
  • Taking regular rests from dancing (15 minutes after every hour of dancing) help reduce the risk of overheating. Check that your body has cooled down, your breathing and heart rate are back to normal, and that you are feeling okay

Warning signs of overheating + dehydrating

ecstasy information - ecstay warning signs

What are the ecstasy warning signs?

When you are taking ecstasy you can overheat and dehydrate quickly to dangerous levels, and make the mistake of drinking too much at once and causing the brain to swell (leading to coma).

The following are important signs to watch out for:

  • starting to feel very hot, unwell and confused
  • not being able to talk properly
  • headache
  • vomiting
  • not being able to urinate, or noticing that urine is thick and dark
  • not perspiring, even when dancing
  • heart rate or pulse not slowing down even when resting
  • fainting, collapsing or convulsing (having fits)

If these symptoms start, then:

  • stop dancing
  • tell a friend and ask them to stay with you until you feel better
  • ask your friend to get some cold water, and sip it slowly
  • splash cold water onto your skin
  • rest in the 'chill out' room or in a quiet, cool area
  • fan your body or get your friend to do it

If symptoms continue and your body doesn't cool down, go to the first aid area of the venue or get to a hospital immediately.
If in doubt of what to do - get to a hospital and/or call '000' (within Australia) - it's better to be safe than sorry. Be honest with the hospital staff - they'll want to help you and you can get the right help more quickly.

Ecstasy and Depression

The long-term effects of taking ecstasy are not really known however some research has found a link between ecstasy and depression.

If you are experiencing depression or other mental health difficulties then you should avoid taking ecstasy. Ecstasy affects the release and transportation of a hormone called serotonin. Serotonin is a hormone and neurotransmitter that influences your feelings, it helps you to feel happy and more confident. A low level of serotonin within your body has been associated with experiencing depression.

After taking ecstasy there is likely to be an increase in the release of serotonin into the body, this is what makes you feel happy, have more energy and be more confident. After the effects of ecstasy wear off, the body releases less serotonin, this may leave you feeling depressed and anxious. If you are already experiencing depression, these feelings may be made worse by the use of ecstasy.

Mixing ecstasy and other drugs

If you are taking prescription medication, such as anti-depressants, you should also avoid ecstasy as mixing the two drugs may be dangerous. If you are thinking about taking ecstasy and are on prescription medication you may want to talk to your doctor or call one of the helplines listed below about the affects it could have.

Ecstasy and the Law

Ecstasy is illegal for anyone under Australian law. This means that it is illegal to possess, use, make or sell ecstasy. For more information you about the laws in Australia you could check out the Lawstuff website.

Driving and Ecstasy

Like driving under the influence of any drug, driving under the influence of ecstasy is illegal. Driving after you've taken ecstasy is dangerous because it can make you feel over-confident - even though your judgement and coordination will be impaired and slower you might feel as if you're okay to drive. Blurred vision or hallucinations can also put you and your passengers in more danger.

Ecstasy Further Information

Phone numbers within Australia

  • NSW Alcohol and Drug Information Service (ADIS) - 02 9361 8000 or 1800 422 599 in rural and regional NSW.
  • Directline (Victorian Based) - 1800 888 236
  • SA ADIS - 08 8363 8618 or 1300 131 340
  • WA ADIS - 08 9442 5000 or 1800 198 024
  • QLD ADIS - 07 3837 5989 or 1800 177 833
  • Tasmanian ADIS - 03 9416 1818 or 1800 811 994
  • NT ADIS - 1800 629 683 or Alice Springs 08 8951 7580 or Darwin 08 8922 8399
  • NT Aminty House - 08 8944 6565 or 1800 684 372
  • ACT ADIS- 02 6205 4545


This factsheet has been adapted from information on the Erowid website.

This ecstasy information has been adapted from the Book "Ecstasy facts and fiction" by Libby Topp, Paul Dillion and Julie Hando. Copies can be obtained from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052. ph. 02 9385 0333

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2 Responses to “Ecstasy”

  1. Cameron says:

    Congratulations to the winner. Stew For You got my vote as well.

    I have enclosed a link to my entry. Even if it helps just one person, I’ve gotten the message across.




  2. lynz says:

    Hi CS, that video is just great, well done you. We would love it to feature on the site? Great work.

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