Ecstasy is relatively easily obtained on the street or at parties and raves; tablets can cost as little as $20 each.
Unlike the 1970s and 1980s, when some of today’s parents were teenagers and illicit drugs were deep underground, today’s teens need only attend a music event or ask around to find ecstasy and other drugs. They can also use underground websites that sell illegal substances of all kinds.
Ecstasy is usually swallowed as a pill. The pills come in different colours and sizes and are often imprinted with a picture or symbol.
Ecstasy is a stimulant containing the drug MDMA (methylenedioxymethamphetamine). However, many pills sold as ecstasy only have a small amount of MDMA or none at all.
Other drugs and “fillers” such as household cleaning products, are often used instead. This makes it hard to know what reactions to expect or how bad the side-effects will be.
Instead of MDMA, drugs sold as ecstasy may contain a mix of amphetamine, paramethoxyamphetamine (PMA), ketamine, NBOMe, methylene or other substances.
Eckies, E, XTC, pills, pingers, bikkies, flippers
WHO IS USING ECSTASY?
Fewer than 3 per cent (2.7 per cent) of students aged 12 to 17 in the 2011 Australian secondary students’ survey said they had tried ecstasy.
Like most other substances, the proportion who said they had ever used it increased with age, from 1 per cent among 13-year-olds to 6 per cent among 17-year-olds.
There are a few gender differences in ecstasy use. Use only differed consistently across time periods between boys and girls aged 12 and 15, with boys more likely to report using ecstasy in their lifetime and in the past month.
Of the 2 per cent of students who reported using ecstasy in the past year, 49 per cent of boys and 65 per cent of females had used it only once or twice.
WHERE ARE KIDS GETTING IT?
Teenagers can source party drugs such as ecstasy easier than their parents did. They can ask around for a contact, search coded websites or find dealers at dance parties and rock concerts. In some cases, dealers are
identified by markers such as a top or T-shirt with a particular number on it.
Dealers might also ask “are you Jason?”, a thinly disguised reference to “are you chasing?” Such methods change constantly to avoid police detection.
SHORT & LONG TERM EFFECTS
If taken in large quantities or if the batch is particularly strong, users may also experience floating sensations, hallucinations, out-of-character irrational behaviour, anxiety, irritability, paranoia and violence, vomiting, high body temperature, racing heartbeat and fitting.
View the Australian Drug Foundation’s short and long term effects of ecstasy here.
GHB (gamma hydroxybutyrate) is often known as liquid ecstasy, but it is a different drug. It is also known as G, fantasy, grievous bodily harm (GBH), liquid ecstasy, liquid E, liquid X, Georgia Home Boy, soap, scoop, cherry meth and blue nitro. Some refer to it as “the date-rape drug” as it has been used to spike drinks before a sexual assault.
It usually comes as a colourless, odourless, bitter or salty liquid, which is usually sold in small bottles or vials. It can also come as a bright-blue liquid known as “blue nitro”.
Important note: It is easy to take too much GHB which could result in an overdose.
Drugs 101 is an informative resource that offers expert advice about drugs and how to start a conversation about them with your kids. It profiles people touched by addiction and explains what drugs are, how they work, their risks and how many young people use them.
Click here to purchase a copy.