How it’s used
- Ecstasy pills are usually ingested (eaten). You swallow the pill, and the MDMA takes effect gradually, as it is digested in your stomach (in the same way as food is). Chewing the pill before swallowing makes digestion, and therefore the effects, happen quicker.
Some users crush pills up into powder. This is then taken in the same ways as other powder drugs (see below)
- MDMA crystals are taken in the same way as powder drugs (see below)
There are four main ways of taking a powder drug into the body:
A small amount of the powder is separated from the rest and sniffed into one nostril. This is done either in lines – the powder is shaped into a thin line, and the line is sniffed; or in ‘keys’ – the user dips her key into the powder, takes up a small mound of powder on the end of the key, and sniffs the mound into one nostril.
Lines are sniffed through a short straw. The straw can be a section of a pre-made straw, or a homemade straw made from rolled up paper. Keys are sniffed directly into the nose from the key. The powder is sniffed deep into the throat. It is absorbed through the membrane at the back of the throat and the oesophagus (the tube that leads from the throat down to the stomach). From there it is carried in the bloodstream to the brain.
A small amount of the powder is placed into a cigarette paper, enclosed in a small parcel by twisting the top of the paper together around the powder, and swallowed. In the stomach, the paper is dissolved by digestive acids and the powder is released and is absorbed through the membrane of the stomach lining. From there it is carried in the bloodstream to the brain.
The end of the finger is moistened and dipped into the powder, and the small amount transferred onto the finger is scraped onto the back of the tongue. Some will be absorbed by the membrane of the tongue, and some will be swallowed and absorbed in the stomach.
A small amount of the powder is mixed with water and drawn into the syringe (barrel) of a hypodermic needle. The needle is used to inject the drug directly into the bloodstream via a vein. The risk of overdose (and a variety of other harms) with this method is very high.
All of these methods carry their own risks of harm to the user. See the MDMA Harm Reduction page for information on how to limit the risks while using MDMA.