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Pure vs Laced MDMA: Adulterants & Additives in MDMA

Adulterants in Drugs MDMA

Ecstasy is increasingly becoming popular around the world.

While ecstasy or Molly, commonly misidentified as a “purer” form of the substance is sometimes referred to as the Hug Drug or Love Drug, it and the adulterants that often go into these colorful little pills aren’t nearly so pleasant.

Pure ecstasy includes a single ingredient: MDMA. Anything else has been modified to include other, sometimes deadly, chemical components. To understand how the purity of ecstasy has changed over the years, we analyzed more than 25,700 test reports of ecstasy from around the world to see how often these pills are cut with other substances. Continue reading to see what we discovered.

If you believe you or someone you love may be struggling with a substance use disorder or addiction, call our toll-free drug helpline at

The Odds of Taking Something Other Than Ecstasy

MDMA Pills Purity Rate

According to the more than 25,700 records taken between 2005 and 2017 from PillReports.net, nearly half of the MDMA pills inspected were adulterated in some capacity. In some cases, versions of the drug may contain no MDMA at all.

Pills and capsules filled with toxic substances masquerading as ecstasy can be just as dangerous, if not more so, and can lead to serious health risks like seizures, stroke, and death.

Due to the rise in popularity of adulterated forms of ecstasy, some companies have even begun manufacturing testing kits to help protect users from ingesting unknown substances.

Ecstasy Reports Around the World

Contents MDMA Pills Country Statistics

In some cases, MDxx was as prevalent as MDMA, or even more so. MDxx is closely structured chemically like MDMA, and some testing kits can’t distinguish between the two.

However, while MDMA and MDxx made up the bulk of pill contents studied, more than 1 in 6 pills contained unknown substances that couldn’t be identified at all. More than 8 percent contained a mixture of MDxx and amphetamines (commonly referred to as speed or meth), and over 1 percent between 2016 and 2017 contained a drug known as PMA (or paramethoxyamphetamine).

PMA mimics the effects of ecstasy but can be up to 10 times more potent. Since PMA takes longer than MDMA to take effect, users sometimes take more of the drug to feel high, which, in some cases, has led to death.

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Ecstasy Purity Over Time

MDMA MDXX Adulterants Data

Most pills sold as ecstasy over the last 12 years contained some amount of MDMA, the substance that effectively makes them ecstasy.

Because the drugs being used in ecstasy change so often, databases like PillReports.net often list their ingredients as unknown. Even drugs found in the same packaging have had different ingredients in them, and unknown substances can have various levels of active ingredients, making these pills even more dangerous. Since 2012, the DEA has found more than 80 unique chemical compounds in drugs marketed and sold as Molly.

The presence of amphetamines in ecstasy has decreased over time, while other components like 2C-B have increased over the last five years. 2C-B is an illegal alternative to MDMA linked to severe health effects in some people.

Ecstasy Purity Across the Globe

Purity MDMA World International

In Asia, drugs labeled as ecstasy were only slightly less likely to be pure MDMA than in the U.S. In Europe, purity was highest. This discrepancy highlights the variety of substances that make up drugs labeled as ecstasy or Molly. With drug officials finding new chemical makeups laced into these pills all the time, it has become nearly impossible to identify pure ecstasy without testing for adulterants first.

No Good Forms of Ecstasy

The truth is people have no way to tell what they are taking just by looking at it. New chemical components are being laced with these drugs every year, and the results can be fatal.

If you or someone you love is concerned about their use of ecstasy, visit us online at AmericanAddictionCenters.org for help. We offer trusted resources for substance misuse and treatment centers to help you get back to living your best life today. Visit us online at AmericanAddictionCenters.org to learn more.

Sources

Methodology

We analyzed PillReports.net’s database of over 25,700 test reports of pills sold as ecstasy worldwide to see how often these pills are cut with other substances, and what those substances are.

Fair Use

If you’d like to cite this study for non-commercial purposes, we encourage you to use any of the graphics included above. We just ask that you give attribution to AmericanAddictionCenters.org in your coverage and provide a link to this page so that your audience can learn more about our work.

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Last Updated on April 1, 2022
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