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Is Ecstasy addictive? Many think so. But even if a user doesn’t become addicted, four very real dangers exist:

DANGER NO. 1: By 1995, less than 10% of Ecstasy pills on the market were pure MDMA. Today’s Ecstasy user is usually taking a mix of a wide variety of drugs, and often toxic substances.

DANGER NO. 2: One has to continually increase the amount of the drug one takes in order to feel the same effects. Users say the effect of Ecstasy is greatly reduced after the first dose. And as a person takes more of the drug, the negative effects also increase.

Because the desired effect from using the drug diminishes, a person often then tries other drugs that are even more dangerous.

DANGER NO. 3: Users feel there is sometimes a need to use other drugs such as heroin or cocaine to help cope with the mental and physical pain that results after one “comes down” from Ecstasy; 92% of those who take Ecstasy also abuse other, even harder drugs.

DANGER NO. 4: The false idea that a person only feels good with Ecstasy leads to a desire to take it more often than just at raves and techno parties; like other stimulant drugs, people continue to take Ecstasy, despite experiencing unpleasant effects.

“I hear a lot of people talking about Ecstasy, calling it a fun, harmless drug. All I can think is, ‘If they only knew.’

“In five months, I went from living somewhat responsibly while pursuing my dream to a person who didn’t care about a thing—and the higher I got, the deeper I sank into a dark, lonely place. When I did sleep, I had nightmares and the shakes. I had pasty skin, a throbbing head and the beginnings of feeling paranoid, but ignored it all, thinking it was normal. Until the night I thought I was dying.

“Ecstasy took my strength, my motivation, my dreams, my friends, my apartment, my money and most of all, my sanity. I worry about my future and my health every day. I have many mountains ahead of me, but I plan to keep climbing because I’m one of the lucky ones.” —Lynn