Ecstasy is a synthetic, hallucinogenic drug that goes by a number of names, including E, X and MDMA. This drug is in the amphetamine family and is commonly used as a party drug, especially at all night raves. In the US, it is a Schedule I drug, meaning that it has no current acceptable medical use in the United States.
Merck, the German pharmaceutical company, developed ecstasy in 1912 in the process of trying to find a substance that would stop bleeding. It was not studied on its own until 1927, and then again in 1959, but no human trials were conducted. It was re-synthesized in 1967 by US pharmacologist Alexander Shulgin. For a period, with its serious side-effects unknown, it was used in psychotherapy, particularly for people who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). As it became better understood, this work ceased, and it was made illegal in 1985.
Ecstasy is known as a club drug due to its frequent use in the nightlife that goes on those establishments, being used in bars, nightclubs, raves, and trances. It was the most commonly abused club drug in 2005, favored for the creation of a euphoric state, as well as reducing inhibitions and fostering feelings of intimacy and empathy. It can also lead to a sense of increased energy, and increased sensitivity to sensations.
The undesirable effects can be extremely severe, however. The drug is addictive, and it can cause users to become disoriented and suffer from blurred vision and difficulty focusing. The reduction in inhibition can lead to uncharacteristic choices in sexual behavior. Anxiety, panic attacks, hallucinations, and psychosis are also possible. Use can cause hyperthermia, which can cause organ failure, arrhythmia, seizures, and even death.
The main form in which ecstasy is distributed in is tablets. The tablets often contain multiple substances, including amhetamines, caffeine, ketamine, methamphetamine, and MDA (3,4-Methylenedioxyamphetamine). Other substances that may be included are ephedrine, DXM (dextromethorphan), cocaine, heroine, and MDEA (3,4-Methylenedioxy-N-Ethylamphetamine). In some cases, pills sold as ecstasy don't actually contain this drug at all, but one or more of these other substances unstead.
Besides pills and capsules that are taken orally, ecstasy is sometimes used as a powder, which is sniffed, or in rare cases, it is smoked or injected. There are also reports of it being used as a suppository.