Get the Facts on Ecstasy

Drugs and Alcohol

MDMA is a synthetic, psychoactive drug with both stimulant (amphetamine–like) and hallucinogenic (LSD–like) properties. Street names for MDMA include Ecstasy, Adam, XTC, hug, beans, and love drug. Its chemical structure (3–4 methylenedioxymethamphetamine, ”MDMA”) is similar to methamphetamine, methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA), and mescaline – other synthetic drugs known to cause brain damage.

MDMA also is neurotoxic. In addition, in high doses it can cause a sharp increase in body temperature (malignant hyperthermia) leading to muscle breakdown and kidney and cardiovascular system failure.

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Institute on Drug Abuse . (2002, September 24). NIDA InfoFacts: MDMA (Ecstasy)Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office


In 2001, an estimated 8.1 million (3.6 percent) of Americans aged 12 or older had tried ”Ecstasy” at least once in their lifetime. This is more than the estimated 6.5 million (2.9 percent) lifetime users in 2000. The number of current users in 2001 was estimated to be 786,000 (0.3 percent). The 2000 NHSDA was not designed to report past month or past year use of Ecstasy.

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2002, September 4). Results from the 2001 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse: Volume I. Summary of National Findings (Office of Applied Studies, NHSDA Series H–17 ed.) (BKD461, SMA 02–3758)Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.