Alere is now Abbott



Methylenedioxy-methylamphetamine,(MDMA) is a strong stimulant closely related to amphetamines and methamphetamines. It is a popular party/dance drug that users take to feel energised and happy so that they can dance for longer.

Ecstasy on its own takes effect within about 30 minutes and lasts for between 3 to 6 hours. The user has feelings of love and affection for others and the come down is gradual. It is usually sold in tablet form, although it's getting more common to see it sold as powder and called by its chemical name, MDMA, or 'crystal'.

Ecstasy tablets come in all sorts of colours and some of them have designs or logos stamped into them. These designs often spawn new street names, such as Supermans or Mitsubishis.

The constituents in an ecstasy tablet can vary considerably and do not always contain MDMA. Some seized tablets have been shown to contain only everyday substances such as caffeine. Other common constituents can be common medications such as ephedrine and pseudoephedrine or other illicit substances like amphetamine and ketamine. Fatalities have been reported where tablets sold as ecstasy actually contain highly toxic substances like para-methoxyamphetamine (PMA).

Ecstasy is rarely injected, snorted or smoked.



Most commonly taken as a tablet, which can also contain other illegal drugs, such as ketamine.

  • Powerful stimulant
  • Mild hallucinogen
  • Dilated pupils
  • Jaw tightens
  • Loss of appetite
  • Calming
  • Mood changes due to prolonged come down
  • Blood pressure and heart rate increases
  • Anxiety
  • Overheating
  • Dehydration
  • Water intoxication (excessive fluid intake)
Various examples of ecstasy tablets


Molecular structure of ecstasy

Street Names

MDMA, XTC, E, X, pills, e-bomb, vitamin e, doves, dolphins, tulips, rolls, love drug, scooby snacks, hug drug, mitsubishis, supermans, sweeties

Legal Status

Class A Substance

Possession of the drug can lead to up to seven years in jail, an unlimited fine or both. Supplying the drug can lead to up to life imprisonment, an unlimited fine or both.

For more information about drug classifications and the associated penalties visit the Home Office website.