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Street names

Brownies, burgers, cowies, crystal, Dennis the Menace Adam, dolphins, doves, E, e, Eve, mandy, MDMA, mdma, Mitsubishi’s, pills, pink superman, rolexs, superman, XTC.

Many slang names are based on the colours and shapes of the capsules.


‘Hallucinogenic amphetamine’ (with mild psychedelic and stimulant effects), swallowed as a pill or capsule. In small doses produces effects vaguely similar to LSD. In higher doses, the effects are more like those of amphetamine. Like many street drugs, you cannot be sure of the actual content of the drug and the mixture bought may most likely contains impurities or adulterants that could be more dangerous than ecstasy itself.

Paraphernalia / what to look out for

  • Tablets often marked with a logo.

Possible short-term indicators

  • Can make the user alert; gives feelings of calmness and mellowness, goodness and confidence.
  • Users say the drug makes them feel in tune with their friends and surroundings.
  • Can cause sweating, a dry mouth and throat, and raised blood pressure.
  • Can cause anxiety, paranoia, depression, tiredness, dehydration and heat stroke.
  • Bodily co-ordination may be affected.

Possible longer-term indicators

  • Person may become confused, anxious, or panicky after large doses, or regular use
  • Evidence of liver damage with limited numbers of users.
  • Recent suggestions of damage to nervous system and possible health effects.

Harm reduction

  • Make sure if dancing non-stop that around a pint of fluid (not alcohol) is drunk to replace the fluid lost by sweating. Isotonic sports drinks replace the lost body salts very effectively. If the user is not dancing, they will not need as much fluid, as too much can be harmful.
  • Avoid taking other drugs, including alcohol, because it dehydrates the body.
  • Wear loose clothing.
  • ‘Chill out’ (relax and recover) regularly.
  • Make sure you feel fit and healthy in the first place, ecstasy puts a lot of physical strain on the heart, liver and kidneys.
  • Make sure users can get home safely – not driving – before ecstasy is taken.
  • Avoid taking more ecstasy once the initial effects have worn off – this strains the system and makes coming down worse.
  • Avoid taking ecstasy if the user is depressed or anxious as use may exacerbate the problem.
  • Avoid increasing the amount of ecstasy that is taken – if more is needed to get the same effects as the last time – take a break from it.
  • Remember water is not an antidote to ecstasy. It just helps prevent dehydration. But don’t drink too much water. See the first tip above.

Heat stroke

Ecstasy use can cause heat stroke. This is caused by a combination of factors:

  • Ecstasy causes body temperature to rise significantly.
  • Non-stop dancing increases this already elevated temperature.
  • Poor ventilation, over-heated venues and over-crowding, increase temperature further.
  • Inadequate intake of water (or other non-alcoholic drinks) exacerbates dehydration and impairs the body’s ability to cool itself.
  • Taking alcohol or other drugs with ecstasy can further cause the body to overheat.

From: Appropriate temperatures and humidity guidance: District Surveyors Association and Association of British Theatre Technicians. (2001). Technical standards for places of entertainment. Entertainment Technology Press.

Legal status

Class A of the Misuse of Drugs Act