What is Ecstasy?

It is a drug under the Amphetamine-Type Stimulants (ATS) group. Chemically known as 3,4 Methylenedioxymethampetamine (MDMA). Like other prohibited drugs, there is no control on factors as strength of the drug and the hygiene during its illegal manufacture. Adulteration often takes place with the addition of cheaper ingredients. As such the drug will contain varying amounts of MDMA and therefore it increases the risk of a user overdosing himself, being poisoned or experiencing adverse reactions after taking it.

What are the other streets name for Ecstasy?

Ecstasy is also known as love drug, yuppie drug, dance drug, pink lady and playboy.

Is Ecstasy dangerous to health?

Yes it is. Ecstasy has many bad health effects.

Ectasy causes pyshological depence

  • User becomes psychologically dependent on ecstasy. Using the drug becomes more important than other activities in the person’s life. It becomes difficult for him or her to stop or decrease the use of Ecstasy.

Ectasy causes some psychiatric problems

  • Bizarre behaviour, paranoia, depression and hallucinations.

Ectasy effects central nervous system (CNS)

  • Drug’s effects on the body’s central nervous system causes the body temperature, pulse rate and blood pressure to rise. These together with the overheating and overdrinking can cause swelling and bleeding in the brain, brain damage and death.
  • Long term use of Ecstasy also causes permanent damage to nerve terminals and parts of the brain.

Ectasy damages the heart

  • It causes the heart to beat much faster than normal
  • It also raises the blood pressure
  • These will lead to irregular heart beat, heart failure and death.

Ectasy damages the liver and the kidneys

  • Overheating and severe loss of body fluids caused by the drug can lead to acute kidney failure and death.

Ectasy damages the muscle, joints and bones

  • Prolonged dancing under the influence of Ecstasy can injure the muscles, joints and bones.

Ectasy interferes with the blood clotting ability

  • Ecstasy may stop blood from clotting causing internal bleeding and death in users.

Ectasy causes danger during pregnancy

  • Ecstasy may cross the placenta and cause harm to the unborn child. Miscarriage can occur.

Ectasy causes danger on the road

  • Risk of a road accident increases when a driver is under the influence of Ecstasy because of poor management, blurred vision and hallucinations.

Ectasy causes danger from sexual exploitation and unsafe sex

  • Young people, especially girls, who are under the influence of Ecstasy will be exposed to the dangers of sexual exploitation, especially unsafe and unprotected sex, with likelihood of contracting HIV, Hepatitis, and other sexually transmitted diseases.

Anyone suffering from hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, liver problems, epilepsy, and a history of mental illness or panic attacks is at greater risk of physical and psychological harm from taking Ecstasy.

How does death come about in Ecstasy users?

There is no relationship between the dose taken and the risk of serious side effects or death . A person can die from just taking one tablet. Most of the deaths have occurred in people who have taken Ecstasy before without experiencing harmful effects. No one knows why some people have severe reactions to the drug. How death does ecstasy cause?

  • The stimulant effect of the drug causes very high blood pressure, body temperature and heart rate, resulting in heart attack and bleeding in the brain.
  • Overheating and dehydration
    • Over sweating due to overheating and failure to replace the salt and water lost in sweating causes dehydration, or inadequate fluid in the body .The body then tries to retain fluid in the body by switching off the sweating mechanism and the kidneys.
    • Overheating leads to fits, coma, acute kidney failure and death.
  • Drinking too much:
    • Several deaths have occurred from drinking too much water all at once because of the thirst.
    • Under the influence of Ecstasy people have been known to drink 20 litres in 3 hours – the blood gets diluted and makes the cells in the body swell up, which is particularly lethal in the brain, causing it the expand and to be crushed by the skull.
    • The centres of the brain that regulate the heart and breathing become irreversibly damaged and the person dies.
    • The drug also causes the release of an anti-diuretic hormone which prevents the kidney from getting rid of the excess water, thus making matters worse.

What does the law say about Ecstasy?

According to The Dangerous Drugs Act (Revised 1998) says, those in possession of :

  • Less than 5g of MDMA is punishable under Section 12(3) of the Act, which carries a general penalty of a fine not exceeding RM100,000 or an imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years, or both.
  • 5g to less than 30g of MDMA is chargeable under Section 39A)1) of the Act which carries a penalty of imprisonment for a term between 2 – 5 years, and whipping between 3 – 9 strokes of the rotan.
  • 30g or more but less than 50g of MDMA is chargeable under Section 39A(2) of the Act which carries a penalty of imprisonment for a term from 5 years to life, and whipping of not less than 10 strokes.
  • 50g or more of MDMA is presumed to be trafficking in the drug and carries the death penalty upon conviction under Section 39B of the Act.

This Act also provides for mandatory whipping, of up to 3 strokes of the rotan, for government staff working in rehabilitation centres, police lockups, jails and detention camps caught in possession of the drug.

Last Reviewed : 26 April 2012
Writer : Dr. Rosnah Ramly
Reviewer : Dato’ Dr. Hj. Md Hanip b. Rafia