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Fact Sheet - Ecstasy

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  • According to the 2003 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), an estimated 470,000 people in the U.S. age 12 and older reported using MDMA (ecstasy) during the 30-day period prior to the survey, a significant decrease from 2002.
  • In high doses, MDMA (ecstasy) can interfere with the body's ability to regulate temperature. This can lead to a sharp increase in body temperature (hyperthermia), resulting in liver, kidney, and cardiovascular system failure.
  • Called "bumping," some MDMA users take more than one pill at a time.
  • For 10th graders in a NIDA-funded study, use of MDMA dropped from 6.2% in 2001 to 4.9% in 2002. There was also a drop in use by 8th graders (from 3.5% to 2.9%) and 12th graders (from 9.2% to 7.4%) compared to 2001.
  • Ecstasy (MDMA) may cause muscle tension, clenching of teeth, nausea, blurred vision, fainting, and chills or sweating. It also increases heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Chemically, MDMA is similar to the stimulant amphetamine and the hallucinogen mescaline. MDMA can produce both stimulant and mild sensory-altering effects.
  • The 2003 and 2004 Monitoring the Future Surveys report a significant increase in the percentages of U.S. 10th graders perceiving occasional MDMA use as risky. The surveys also found that significantly more 10th and 12th graders disapprove of taking MDMA once or twice. Perceived availability of MDMA significantly decreased among 8th-, 10th-, and 12th-grade students.


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