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Ecstasy

  • By: Lawrence J. Hammar
  • In: Encyclopedia of Drug Policy
  • Edited by: Mark A. R. Kleiman & James E. Hawdon
  • Subject:Public Policy, Drug Crimes

The principal chemical component of ecstasy is MDMA, or 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine. MDMA is a phenethylamine related structurally to amphetamines and mescaline. Having been isolated and experimented with at least a decade previously, MDMA was first described and prepared for patent submission in December 1912. Its patent was issued two years later in Germany to E. Merck Pharmaceuticals. Once manufactured mostly in the laboratories of Holland and Belgium, ecstasy is now also made in the United States, Canada, Germany, Mexico, Brazil, east Asia, and southeast Asia, and is sometimes laced with methamphetamine or other substances. In its pure forms, MDMA's effects combine the loss of inhibitions of alcohol, the auditory intensification of marijuana, the hallucinogenic effects of mild LSD, and the sleep-defying, energy-boosting effects of amphetamines. Because ...

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