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Prior drug use is strong predictor of ecstasy use

An electronic dance party
An electronic dance party

Ecstasy is a very popular street drug with very hazardous potential side effects. Researchers have found prior drug use is the greatest predictor of ecstasy use among high school seniors in the United States reported New York University on June 24, 2014. Ecstasy is also known by its chemical abbreviation MDMA.

Ecstasy is very common among drug abusers at nightclubs and dance parties. It has several street names including “Molly” (U.S.), “Mandy” (U.K.), “E,” and “X.” People who like the drug report it is particularly desirable at dance parties where it seems to enhance the party experience by heightening perceptions of lights and music.

A recent study which has been published in the journal Substance Use & Misuse by researchers who are affiliated with New York University’s Center for Drug Use and HIV Research (CDUHR), investigated a national sample of high school seniors to determine who is currently at the highest risk for ecstasy use. The drug has been very popular among adolescents and young adults. It is the feeling of the researchers that the popularity of ecstasy use may be associated with increasing popularity of electronic dance festivals.

The researchers found that approximately 4.4 percent of high school seniors reported they used ecstasy within the last year. There were consistently lower odds for ecstasy use among females and religious students. Odds for use were observed to consistently increase for students residing in a city, students who had a weekly income of greater than $50 from a job, and students who earned greater than $10 weekly from other sources. Lifetime use of alcohol, cigarettes, marijuana, and other illicit drugs each significantly increased the chances of ecstasy use. Prevention efforts should keep these factors in mind.

The researchers have recommended that prevention initiatives should focus on education of adolescents and young adults who are at the highest risk in regard to the potential harmful effects of ecstasy. It is felt that it is just as important to continue to focus education on preventing use of drugs which normally precede ecstasy use. Harm reduction messages such as taking steps to avoid health associated risks such as dehydration are also suggested as part of the nightclub and dance event scenes to target those who refuse to abstain from using ecstasy and other street drugs.

Ecstasy is a dangerous drug as are other designer and street drugs. A serious question for those who refuse to consider total abstinence from these poisons once the facts are on the table is why do they still insist on using these drugs. This presents us with further avenues of consideration for effective intervention such as aggressive drug counseling.

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