Issues Magazine

Articles about drugs

What’s Behind the Risk-Taking Behaviours of Ecstasy Users?

By Sheena Arora

The Ecstasy and Related Drugs Reporting System has surveyed regular users of illicit drugs to build up a picture of their risk-taking behaviours and the consequences they have faced.

The chemical MDMA was first discovered in 1912 by the pharmaceutical company Merck, which synthesised MDMA as an intermediate chemical to be used in the production of blood-clotting agents. It was not until the 1970s that MDMA was used as a recreational drug, mainly in the United States. In the 1980s it began to be known as ecstasy, and its popularity soared. In the 1990s, ecstasy became synonymous with raves and dance parties.