Q (UK) - - Girl Ray -

First syn­the­sised by Ger­man phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals com­pany Merck in 1912, then “re­dis­cov­ered” by US chemist and counter-cul­ture rad­i­cal Alexan­der Shulgin in 1965, MDMA didn’t be­come pop­u­lar in night­clubs un­til a Texan drug pro­ducer be­gan dis­tribut­ing it us­ing the name “ec­stasy” in the early ’ 80s. Ini­tially pro­moted as an em­pathic “fun drug”, its rep­u­ta­tion for cre­at­ing loved-up party peo­ple who liked to dance quickly spread to disco clubs such as Par­adise Garage in New York – and from there to Europe. By 1992 it was the recre­ational drug of choice for an en­tire gen­er­a­tion of Bri­tish youth, with an es­ti­mated half-mil­lion peo­ple drop­ping a “gurner” every week­end.

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