MDMA Harm Reduction Information
MDMA is the shortened chemical name for the synthetic psychoactive drug 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine.
It can come in powder/crystal form and is also the active ingredient expected to be found in ecstasy pills which come in a variety of colours and shapes. Although pills may look the same, remember that the contents and purity can vary even among pills from the same batch. Powders and crystals carry the same risk and can also contain unknown contents or be high purity.
What are the latest MDMA trends?
See our September 2021 update on the latest MDMA trends in Europe here
MDMA Harm Reduction
It is always safer not to use at all, but if you do, follow harm reduction information below to reduce the harms:
- Talk to your friends about using drugs and research the risks on Drugs.ie. Don’t use alone or in an isolated place.
- The drug, set and setting: Think about the drug, your personal situation such as your physical and mental health as well as the setting you are in. This will all impact on how you react.
- Avoid use if you have physical or mental health concerns such as epilepsy, heart problems, panic or anxiety attacks, depression, suicidal thoughts or a history of psychosis as use can be more risky.
- Avoid mixing MDMA with other substances including alcohol and prescription medication as this can increase the risks for you. It is especially risky to mix MDMA with drugs that increase serotonin in the body such as some anti-depressants such as SSRI medication. Learn more here.
- What's in the pill, powder or crystal? MDMA purity is increasing in Europe which can mean increased risks, high doses of MDMA can lead to hospitalisations or death. In some cases, MDMA has been found to contain 3 times the adult dose which significantly increases the risks.
- There are also risks of unknown contents appearing, which in some cases, could be more dangerous than MDMA alone such as PMA/PMMA. MDMA crystal can also be mixed with other riskier and longer lasting drugs such as pentylone and other 'cathinone type' substances which was recently detected in Europe. These substances can lead to re-dosing and effects on your mental health such as paranoia, anxiety, over stimulation and insomnia.
- Start low and go very low: Take a test dose (for example a quarter of a pill) and leave at least 2 hours before taking more.
- Keep cool and stay hydrated but don't drink over a pint of water an hour. MDMA can confuse your body temperature, you feel warm, urination is difficult and you feel thirsty. Drinking too much water to cool down or to try urinating can be dangerous. Too much water may lead to ‘water intoxication’ that can dilute your blood and flush out essential electrolytes that keep your brain and body working
- If in a venue or festival, take breaks from dancing and give yourself time to cool down.
- Don’t be afraid to get help. If you or a friend become unwell or feel suicidal after taking drugs you should get help immediately. Know where to go if in a venue or call 112/999.
- Don't leave a person alone, stay with them until help arrives. Always be honest about what you think was taken. Emergency services are there to help.
- MDMA can cause a 'come down': Some people may feel low, anxious, depressed or suicidal directly after or a number of days after use. Don't be afraid to get help and speak with a professional if you need to after MDMA use.
- Think about your long term mental health: Over time, people who take MDMA frequently and/or in high doses may feel anxious and irritable. It can also have a negative impact on mood, concentration and sleep. Frequent use can mean a tolerence is developed and more is needed to get an effect. Try to leave at least 4 weeks between use.
- Eat and sleep hygiene: Try to eat well before and after use as well as getting regular sleep. The risk of experiencing an issue with your mental health when taking drugs is increased if you aren't sleeping well or sleeping well as well as if you have an existing mental health concern.
- Women may be at greater risk to the effects and harms associated with MDMA.
- COVID-19 Harm Reduction: avoid sharing items used to consume drugs or bags. Remember to wash your hands if passing drugs/bags and clean surfaces. Get more information here
Get more information on reducing the harms
Get information on how MDMA interacts with other substances here
See our overdose information here.
For more harm reduction information go to Drugs.ie/campaigns
Concerned about your use?
Take the Drugs.ie online self-assessment to identify the impact of your use: Drugs.ie/drugtest
Getting support for substance use
If you are concerned about your own use or someone else’s use, contact a local service through the Drugs.ie National Directory for Drug and Alcohol Services at Drugs.ie/services
You can also contact the HSE Drug and Alcohol Helpline on 1800 459 459 from Monday to Friday between 9:30 am and 5:30 pm or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For information about sexual health and wellbeing go to www.sexualwellbeing.ie