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The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has released its latest SMART report. The global SMART reports provide regular updates regarding the drug phenomenon around the world.

The special segment addresses the changing nature of the content of drugs sold as “ecstasy”. It provides a description and an outline of the history of MDMA, its precursors and its mechanism of action and the changing content of “ecstasy”. Finally, regional differences in “ecstasy” composition are presented. 

MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine) was the original chemical found in pills sold as ecstasy and the two names have been used interchangeably. However, more and more substances under international control as well as new psychoactive substances (NPS) have been identified as components of pills sold as “ecstasy”. Chemical analyses of “ecstasy” pills around the world have revealed that their composition is rather diverse, varying from products with MDMA as the sole psychoactive substance, through mixtures of MDMA with other psychoactive substances or other psychoactive substances alone.

The Update also covers the latest developments in the illicit manufacture of ecstasy in Europe and the increasing use of ecstasy in powdered or crystal form, which is reported to be rapidly gaining prominence.

The document can be downloaded here. More information can be found on the UNODC website.