Drug and alcohol information for PDHPE students

This guide takes you to key eresources, books and information about drugs and alcohol for PDHPE students.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander visitors are kindly advised that this website includes images, sounds and names of people who have passed.

All users should be aware that some topics or historical content may be culturally sensitive, offensive or distressing, and that some images may contain nudity or are of people not yet identified. Certain words, terms or descriptions may reflect the author's/creator's attitude or that of the period in which they were written, but are now considered inappropriate in today's context.

Key to library resources

Access anywhere with a library card In the Library (or anywhere with a Library card for NSW residents)
Available to access in the library Only in the Library
Publicly available online Publicly available



Ecstasy is a derivative of methamphetamine (the active ingredient is 3, 4- methylenedioxymethamphetamine, abbreviated to MDMA). It has both stimulant and hallucinogenic properties.

Ecstasy usually comes as a tablet, in a variety of colours and sizes, sometimes marked with a design or logo (brands such as Mitsubishi and Calvin Klein have been found stamped on ecstasy tablets). Pills that look the same, even pills stamped with the same logo, are not necessarily of the same quality—they may contain varying amounts of other substances besides MDMA, including methamphetamine, ketamine, other substances chemically related to MDMA, and legal substances such as caffeine.

MDMA was first synthesised in 1912 and patented in 1914, but it found no widespread use until the 1970s when it was used in psychotherapy to help patients 'get in touch with their feelings'. In a controlled medical environment, it appeared to have only moderate effects and to be relatively safe.

By the 1980s, the term 'ecstasy' was coined and the drug was being used recreationally. Around this time it became a prohibited substance.

Read more about ecstasy here.


Drug facts

Use the following websites to find information about specific drugs, including their long and short term effects, how they are used, legal status and information on mixing drugs.

Journal articles

Journal articles are a good source of explanations and discussions of drug and alcohol issues.  There are several eresources with links to journal articles available in the State Library.

A quick guide to drugs and alcohol

Further information from Drug Info

Visit the Drug Info website for free drug and alcohol information for the community of NSW. Drug Info is a partnership between NSW Ministry of Health and the State Library of NSW.

Respect your brain videos


The Respect Your Brain animated video series is designed for young people. The videos focus on the effects of alcohol, cannabis and MDMA on the developing brain.