It's at this point of the high -- users call it "blowing up"1 -- that the drug hits you the hardest. Dancing feels like a necessity. Your world fills with neon lighting and sweet menthol smoke. Every bass thump becomes your heart beat. Every touch feels like an orgasm.

At downtown Miami's Ultra Music Festival2, an enormous party devoted to electronic music during a hot March weekend, the entire crowd was blowing up.

Hundreds of sweating bodies wearing angel wings and rainbow skirts writhed to the music as chemicals stormed through their veins at 300 beats per minute.

photo by Nicole Safker

The catalyst? A pill.

Also known as "E," "X" or "Ecstasy," the drug has an appropriate street name: the stuff makes you feel good. No, better than good. It makes you feel better than you've ever felt.

It's also hit Gainesville in a big way -- according to police, Ecstasy is the city's second most popular drug.

Local users don't seem to mind the drug's illegality or negative effects -- they still call it "the best drug ever." Most have even come to accept the orgies, freak-outs, sleepless nights, clenching jaws, inconsolable comedowns and possible brain damage that accompany it.

At Ultra, they were accepted in every stomp and scream. As the music continued to flow and the chemicals continued to surge, over the speakers came a deep and robotic voice, "You only take E when you need to, and you need to ..."3


1 See "blowing up" in the glossary.

2 Ultra Music Festival's Web site.

See more photos from the Ultra Music Festival in the gallery.

3 Hear this excerpt from TiŽsto's "Dance4Life".