Ecstasy (also known as MDMA) started out as a failed medical experiment in 1912. It was tested for various other applications thereafter, but with no positive outcomes. It was only in the 1970s that it gained popularity as a “party” drug at venues like nightclubs, “raves” and private parties. Although it was declared illegal, it remains in circulation. Users see it as a “booster” that enhances alertness, socialising, enjoyment of music and tireless dancing.
Apart from it’s energising effect, it gives users a false sense of harmony, love, peace and connectedness with other people. Side effects include impulsiveness, openness, affection (even towards strangers), sexual arousal, distorted perception of time, intense exhilaration and acute awareness of colours, sounds and touch. There may be tooth grinding and jaw clamping. The eyes become diluted and the heart rate increases.
Intoxication starts 15 to 90 minutes after ingestion and lasts from 1 to 5 hours (depending on the volume, quality of product and the user’s tolerance level). When the effect wears out, it is followed by fatigue and depression. Long term usage leads to progressive tolerance and dependency.
Ecstasy is related to amphetamine. Pure ecstasy is a white crystalline powder, but is usually sold as tablets with different shapes and colours. Most are round, but some are heart, clover or diamond-shaped. They can be white, beige, gray, yellow, red or blue. The pills have different stamped logos on them, for example; “Mitsubishi”, “Cherry”, “007”, “Coco Chanel”, a seated lady, a skull, the letters “E”, “X” or “XTC” – and many other inscriptions. Some street names are; love pill, eccy, eggs, essence, biscuits, clarity, beans, pingers and snowball. Ecstasy can be injected with a syringe, but is usually taken in pill form.