Where Are They Now? Understanding the Popularity of Ecstasy in 2022

For the past two decades of the 20th century, ecstasy was a very popular drug, especially for young adults involved in college nightlife. However, after the turn of the 21st century, this drug has seemed to drop off the radar entirely, replaced by headlines focusing on other drugs that pose a greater threat to public health. But is this a true modern assessment of ecstasy? Here’s how this drug is seeing a rise in popularity today and the surprising ways it’s happening.


Fads come and go. Whether it’s clothing, music, or even lifestyle, we understand that the ways of the past hardly seem to remain the same through the decades. At one time, the disco movement was the context for widespread cocaine use, but disco was one of those fads that soon became eclipsed shortly after the early 1980s. Today, disco dance parties exist purely as a nostalgic nod to bygone days. Still, we can see that disco was important in giving rise to another genre, electronic dance music (EDM). So far, EDM has outpaced its disco predecessor and honed a drug identity that’s much more palatable than cocaine: ecstasy (MDMA).

While it’s true that drug use is subject to the same ebb and flow of trends as anything else, it would be a mistake to suggest that ecstasy has been phased out in 2022. While it might be harder to find a disco dance party at your nearest community event, chances are you won’t have the same problem finding a local market for cocaine. And if this is true, we shouldn’t assume that ecstasy use is dependent upon the ongoing music festivals and club raves that dominated the 1990s and early 2000s. Ecstasy is hardly a fad drug; it’s still in widespread use in 2022.


Ecstasy is a psychoactive drug, which is a chemical substance that changes how the brain communicates. It affects everything from perception, behavior, mood, and organ functions. People may have heard of ecstasy as a hallucination drug, but they might not be aware of other factors that put it into perspective. For one, ecstasy is a stimulant, which is in the same drug class as cocaine and meth. Stimulants speed up the central nervous system’s functions, meaning it increases communication between the brain and the rest of the body. This is in contrast to depressants like alcohol, benzos, and opioids, which suppress central nervous system communications.

Another surprising fact about ecstasy is just how similar it is to meth. When we understand what MDMA stands for (methylenedioxymethamphetamine), it is much easier to see why this is the case. Simply put, ecstasy is very similar to methamphetamine, chemically speaking. But it also shares that similarity with the hallucinogen mescaline.

Functionally, ecstasy produces some of the stimulation of meth along with the hallucinogen experience of mescaline. However, this drug also shares similarities with its counterparts in terms of the damage it can cause to its users. You can expect ongoing ecstasy use to harm the body’s serotonin system, meaning this pleasure drug can end up damaging a person’s ability to feel pleasure over time. Additionally, using stimulant drugs like ecstasy can cause a high risk of increased heart rate, blood pressure, and even organ failure if an overdose occurs. Additionally, ecstasy carries the same risk as other illicit drugs for being cut with lethal amounts of fentanyl.

With these things in mind, it looks like ecstasy is still a key player in 2022. This not only includes the countless occurrences of drug busts but also includes ecstasy use in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) therapy for soldiers in the United Kingdom, with the Biden Administration vowing to follow suit in the next two years. Those of us in the United States know that California is always a forerunner of drug legalization experiments, and the battle for ecstasy is no exception, even with current drug decriminalization bills at play.

Meanwhile, people are finding creative ways to bring ecstasy use into the mainstream. One example is a mock-up ecstasy shop in the Netherlands, simulating a storefront legal purchase of the drug to create conversations about the benefits of decriminalization. Even American athletes like Aaron Rodgers have recently spoken of the possible benefits of legal psychedelic drug use, including ecstasy.

Fact-Checking the Unknown

While it is unclear what exactly a pro-ecstasy world would look like, we need to keep in mind what we do know about ecstasy. Making the drug legal will not change the fact that it poses a high risk for addiction and abuse, both mentally and physically. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) ranks ecstasy as a Schedule I drug, meaning it carries a high potential for abuse and has no currently accepted medical use.

Marijuana shares a schedule l status with ecstasy on the federal level, even though it has been decriminalized in various U.S. states in recent years. While drug legalization is a trend in modern times, no legalization effort can take away the personal risk of drug abuse. If you or someone you know is dependent on ecstasy, it is important to seek out professional help as soon as possible.


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©Kevin Morris. All rights reserved.

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