Tools of the Trade: How to Spot Ecstasy Paraphernalia

What paraphernalia can parents be on the lookout for with ecstasy abuse?

More so than perhaps any other drug, ecstasy (MDMA, molly) is largely associated with trends and lifestyles. Since it’s considered a “club drug,” ecstasy's paraphernalia reflects the culture associated with using the drug, more so than its packaging or preparation.

Looking for Ecstasy Paraphernalia

For parents, deciphering between the now-popular trends of club culture and actual drug use can be tricky. For example, a glow stick isn’t necessarily ecstasy paraphernalia; the neon colored plastic sticks are simply part of today’s club culture. Luckily, there are some items parents can look for that are less about the club scene and more indicative of actual ecstasy use.

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  • Mentholated Rub & Inhalers: The same vapor rub used to alleviate cold symptoms, mentholated rub has become a popular item for ecstasy use. Believe it or not, vapor rub is increasingly being banned in club venues. Not only does the rub allow users to breathe easier, users claim it enhances the drug’s effects through the tingling feeling and menthol smell it provides. Unless your teenager has a cold, you may need to confront them if you find vapor rub in their purse or backpack.
  • Surgical/ Painter’s Masks: These items are also associated with the perceived effects of menthol on ecstasy. Ecstasy users will rub vapor rub or menthol oils on the inside of the mask to inhale the fumes, which reportedly heightens the drug’s experience. There’s almost no reason for a teenager to have this item, so finding a mask in your teen’s room may indicate ecstasy use.
  • Pacifiers and Candy Necklaces: This is a case of actual paraphernalia overlapping with trends and style. While pacifiers and candy necklaces have historically been used to keep drug users from grinding their teeth, they are now worn as popular club accessories…whether using ecstasy or not. Although finding these items may not positively indicate use, it’s enough to prompt a conversation with your teen.
  • Molly Paraphernalia: Molly — the powder form of MDMA — is typically snorted. Therefore, the paraphernalia is similar to that of any commonly snorted drug (i.e. cocaine, meth). Re-sealable baggies, mirrors with white residue, rolled-up dollar bills, and razorblades could all indicate your teen is snorting molly.

 

Learn more about the symptoms of ecstasy overdose and treatment options.

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