MDMA has been illegal since 1977 in the UK, and since 1985 in the USA.
Many of the risks users face with MDMA use are similar to those found with the use of amphetamines and cocaine. They are: 1. psychological difficulties, including confusion, depression, sleep problems, drug craving, severe anxiety, and paranoia - during and sometimes weeks after taking MDMA (even psychotic episodes have been reported); 2. physical symptoms such as muscle tension, involuntary teeth clenching, nausea, blurred vision, rapid eye movement, faintness, and chills or sweating; and 3. increases in heart rate and blood pressure, a special risk for people with circulatory or heart disease.
Scientists have found that Ecstasy causes changes in serotonin sites in the brain and also injures serotonin neurons. Although these can regrow, they do not grow back normally and might not grow back in the right location. Serotonin is a critical neurochemical that regulates mood, emotion, learning, memory, sleep, pain.
Each year, the US National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA) reports on the nature and extent of drug use among the American household population aged 12 and older. The 1998 survey found that an estimated 1.5 percent (3.4 million) of Americans at least 12 years old had used MDMA at least once during their lifetime. By age group, the heaviest use (5 percent or 1.4 million people) was reported for those between 18 and 25 years old.
A survey of American teenagers (2001) found that one in four questioned said they had a friend or classmate who had used Ecstasy, while 17 percent said they knew more than one user. In Boston, a 1996-97 survey of public schools in Boston found that about 14 percent of male and 7 percent of female 12th graders had used MDMA during their lifetime. Increased use of MDMA among youth was also reported in Seattle.
The street price of Ecstasy in the USA in 2001 was $20 to $35 a tablet. It has become increasingly popular to prolong Ecstasy's effect by "stacking" multiple doses in one night -- or combining it with alcohol or other drugs. Hazards are raised by commonly used impure forms of Ecstasy, which are laced with other drugs, and look-alike pills. Dehydration and overheating, especially at dance clubs, have led to death in some cases.
2. Every Ecstasy death is tragic, but if you look at the fact that millions of pills are taken each weekend you can see that it is a relatively safe pastime.