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How does ecstasy affect driving?

Ecstasy is a stimulant drug, which means it speeds up the messages travelling between the brain and body.

Find out more about ecstasy and its effects

The effects of any drug (including ecstasy) vary from person to person. How ecstasy affects a person depends on many things including their size, weight and health, also whether the person is used to taking it. The effects of ecstasy, as with any drug, also depend on the amount taken.

There is no safe level of ecstasy use. Use of any drug always carries some risk – even medications can produce unwanted side effects. It is important to be careful when taking any type of drug.

As a general guide, ecstasy can cause:

  • Difficulty reacting appropriately and safely controlling a vehicle
  • Risk taking
  • Over confidence in driving skills
  • Aggressive and dangerous driving
  • Drowsiness


'Come down' effects (exhaustion, mood swings and depression) after using ecstasy may also impair driving ability.

A person who has been using ecstasy may think that, if they are especially careful, they will be able to drive safely. However, the drug may have affected their view and experience of reality, and their judgement. Their actions and responses may be impaired, but they may not be aware of how much their driving skills have been affected.

Safer driving tips

If you intend to drive, the safest option is not to use alcohol or other drugs.

Avoid driving if you're tired or under the influence of ecstasy. Often this can be a hard call, as it is difficult to judge whether you are still under the influence the next day, for example. Even if you feel fine, the ecstasy might still be affecting you.

If you have used ecstasy, make sure that you have several hours sleep after your last use, because as the effects wear off, you are likely to feel exhausted and could fall asleep while driving.

Last updated: 8 June 2016

Information you heard is intended as a general guide only. This audio is copyrighted by the Australian Drug Foundation. Visit www.DrugInfo.ADF.org.au for more