How Much Are MDMA & Ecstasy Dangerous?


After many deaths and tragedies caused by misuse of drugs, two experts gave their answers to most common questions.

Why do young people with everything to live for take drugs like ecstasy?

For many young people, taking ecstasy is a very enjoyable experience, particularly at dance and music events. These young people consider ecstasy is a better, gentler and more social drug than alcohol, especially in dance music settings. Indeed, ecstasy is not associated with violence while alcohol is often linked to aggression and anti-social behavior.

What is ecstasy?

When most people buy ecstasy they hope to purchase MDMA, a psychoactive drug with weak stimulant and hallucinogenic effects. MDMA was used in the 70s and 80s as an adjunct to psychotherapy before being classified as dangerous after recreational use of the drug increased.

Is MDMA really a dangerous drug?

While all drug use, recreational or otherwise, can cause harm, pure MDMA is one of the least dangerous drugs known. Indeed, it is much less dangerous than drugs like alcohol, tobacco or cannabis. MDMA is rarely habit-forming. The vast majority of people only take MDMA in the context of dancing or partying. MDMA fatalities do occur but are extremely rare in comparison with the hundreds of thousands of doses taken every year in Australia. Professor David Nutt, a distinguished expert, was sacked from an official UK position for estimating in 2009 that the risk of death was greater from horse riding than from taking ecstasy.

But three people have died after taking ecstasy in Sydney this year. How can MDMA be called “a relatively safe drug”?

People have died after taking what they thought or were told was MDMA. But was it really MDMA? Because MDMA cannot be obtained legally, the black market manufactures the drug with unknown quality controls and expertise. Sometimes dangerous variants to MDMA (PMA or PMMA) contaminate the sold product – and these contaminants really are dangerous.


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