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E for Ecstasy
by Nicholas Saunders

[ Index ] [ Chapter 2 ]

Chapter 1: Introduction A large proportion of young people, especially in Britain, are regular users of the drug Ecstasy (E, Adam(166), X or MDMA) for a simple reason: it provides them with access to an experience which they value. Yet the majority of first-time users have no access to reliable information about the drug and rely on folklore for guidance, while little serious attention is paid to the potential uses and benefits of MDMA. This book is intended to satisfy Ecstasy users' thirst for knowledge, to help them to avoid its dangers and make the best of possible benefits as well as to stimulate further research into this fascinating drug.

The first part of the book is brief but complete in itself. Those who want to know more on any particular subject should follow the little numbers to the reference section; those who don't want to miss anything should also read that section, as it also includes many fascinating items of additional information. Then there are the personal accounts which are an easy read and have been chosen to demonstrate most of the effects of the drug. Finally, there is an annotated bibliography for serious researchers.

While the first edition was about and for British users of Ecstasy, this edition includes a broader usage both in Europe, the USA and Australia, and will be published in German. Much of the book has been rewritten to incorporate the greatly increased volume of references.

In the summer of 1992 I held a meeting to bring together people who had experienced a positive change as a result of taking Ecstasy. I was sick of the rubbish put out by the media, and I wanted to see how many people, like myself, felt the drug had done them good. Most of those who attended had far more experience of the drug than myself, and it was hardly surprising that nearly all credited the drug with improving the quality of their lives. But what made a strong impression on me was that, although those users desperately wanted information, they knew very little about the drug. That decided me to produce this book.

In 1970 I wrote Alternative London, a guidebook for people living in the city who, like myself, were exploring alternative lifestyles and other levels of consciousness. As with MDMA now, media coverage of our lifestyles consisted of horror stories and ridicule. As with Alternative London, this book is based on personal experience backed up by extensive research.