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Taking MDMA 'could be more dangerous for women than men'


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Women are more likely to end up in emergency rooms than men after taking ecstasy, according to this year’s Global Drugs Survey (GDS).

The survey, which investigates drug use habits, also says that it is the worst time to be using MDMA in a generation.

Data shows there has been a four-fold increase in British female clubbers seeking emergency treatment after taking MDMA in the last three years – and that women are now two to three times more likely to seek emergency treatment than men.

The survey addresses how there are concerns over an increased risk of acute harm from taking MDMA in high dosage.

And Dr Adam Winstock, the founder of the GDS, told The Guardian that gender differences in the effects of the drug were becoming increasingly clear.

He said: “What I would say to female ecstasy users is that you need to more careful than men.

“Everyone has to be careful, but I think women need to pay extra attention to things like how much they are using, how they are mixing, where they are and who they’re with.”

But why would women be at more risk? This is because MDMA, the active ingredient in ecstasy, causes users’ bodies to retain more water.


Oestrogen, the female hormone, impairs cells’ ability to release water, meaning women are particularly at risk from the effect. And in some cases, this water retention can lead to dangerous brain swelling.

Winstock said an estimated 200,000 Britons use ecstasy every weekend.

He told The Guardian that overstating the harms of the drug was simply not realistic. Instead, he said he was keen to stress that the risk posed by the drug could be minimised by careful use.

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