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MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine) also known as MD, mandy or molly is the active ingredient in many pills sold as ecstasy and became increasingly popular in the late 1980s. It can be sold as a crystal, powder, capsule or pill.
The powder/crystal may be white, yellow, grey, purple or light brown in colour and this should be ground to a fine powder before use. It is normally then snorted or ‘bombed’ in a cigarette paper.
Pills vary widely in strength and colour and may contain other drugs which can be more toxic. Ecstasy pills are usually named after their colour and logo.
MDMA is a stimulant (upper) and empathogen (‘loved-up’) drug which can make you feel chatty and euphoric. You may feel more connected to music and people and be able to have conversations more freely. It also increases your heart rate and body temperature. Other effects include hallucinations, enhanced colour and sound, jaw tension/clenching, dilated pupils and difficulty urinating.
Dosage is dependant on purity and route of administration. An average dose for swallowing is around 80mg and will give around 13 bombs from a gram (this dose should not be taken as a recommendation). Ecstasy pills can contain anything from 0-330mg of MDMA so people should start with a half or quarter.
It can be swallowed as a pill/capsule or wrapped in cigarette paper. MDMA can also be snorted or dabbed onto the tongue and should be crushed to a fine powder before use.
MDMA can be injected but this is less common and discouraged.
It can also be mixed in a drink but care should be taken to accurately dose and ensure no one else drinks it.
If you don't feel the effects don't be tempted to redose straight away. Hard pressed pills may take a while to kick
Some pills may contain PMA or PMMA which are more toxic and can take up to two hours to kick in.
What you Need to Know
If you choose to use MDMA:
- Start with a small amount (a dab with your pinky) to see how it affects you. Use a guide to measure lines or scales to divide bombs.
- Avoid using notes to snort powder- try a straw (without sharp edges) or rolled up post-it and avoid sharing with anyone else.
- If swallowing use a cigarette paper to "bomb" the powder.
- Be aware that pills/powders being sold as MDMA may contain other drugs such as PMA which can be stronger, longer lasting and more dangerous.
- Take regular breaks if dancing and replace fluids by sipping water regularly (about 0.5-1 pint an hour).
- Chill out regularly and cool down to avoid overheating.
- Avoid mixing with alcohol and other drugs (especially downers) which can dull the effects and increase your risk of dehydration.
- Chewing gum can help with effects of jaw tension.
- Look after your pals and seek medical help if anyone falls unwell.
- If you are on anti-depressants taking ecstasy pills containing MDMA can increase your risk of serotonin syndrome.
- Serotonin syndrome is dangerous- watch out for anyone who looks red hot and rigid. Call 999 immediately.
Class A drug. Penalties for possession are up to 7 years in prison and/or an unlimited fine. Supply holds penalties of up to life in prison and/or an unlimited fine.
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