Volume 96, Issue 60
Thursday, January 16, 2003

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Ecstasy

What is it?

Whether you know it by the name "E," "XTC" or "the love drug," Ecstasy (MDMA) is a synthetic drug that has both stimulant and hallucinogenic properties.

Ecstasy comes in different shapes and sizes. "Each pill is stamped with a different logo [ranging from Scooby Doo characters to pretty butterflies], but this does not ensure the quality or potency of the drug – different manufacturers may use the same logo," explained one former ecstasy user.

How do you use it?

Ecstasy is commonly swallowed in its pill form, although it is possible to crush the tablet or purchase the drug in a powder form and snort. The use of ecstasy should be followed with plenty of water, especially when taken at clubs or raves. According to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, ecstasy increases one's heart rate, body temperature and blood pressure; when combined with dancing all night, the drug can result in severe dehydration and possible kidney failure if not countered with lots of water.

What are the effects on the body?

Besides ecstasy's ability to increase one's heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature, excessive use and failure to drink enough water can lead to kidney failure, heart failure, strokes and seizures. According to The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, "People with high blood pressure, heart or liver problems, diabetes, epilepsy or any mental disorder are the most vulnerable to the potential dangers of ecstasy."

How does it feel?

Although every pill has its own strength, ecstasy produces feelings of pleasure and closeness with others. "It's a feeling of complete euphoria," explained one user. "You become really relaxed and can have some crazy hallucinations. Once, while I was on E, my boyfriend and I went for a walk along the water. We were convinced that we had seen a bridge across the water, which we found out that next day wasn't really there. We also thought we saw dead people and walruses floating in the water – it was really scary."

–Kasia Iglinski

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2002 THE GAZETTE