New Study Suggests Prior Drug Use Predicts Use of MDMA

July 7, 2014

Researchers from the Center for Drug Use and HIV Research at New York University have found that high school teenagers who take ecstasy, or MDMA, are more likely to have tried other drugs previously.

The study, published in the journal Substance Use and Misuse, analyzed a group of high school seniors to evaluate who is at risk of using and potentially abusing ecstasy.

Rising popularity of MDMA

The drug has declined in popularity since its use in the 1990s and early 2000s, but is extremely prevalent at concerts involving electronic dance music.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 27 percent of people have used ecstasy at one point or another in their lifetime.

The study showed that 4.4 percent of the seniors used ecstasy in the past year, with boys more likely to abuse the drug. The researchers were sure to eliminate factors of bias like socioeconomic status and mainly found that the largest risk for using was prior experience with other drugs.

The study displayed that high school girls and students who practiced religion were less likely to use ecstasy. Students of minority races and students with two parents in their household were also at a lower risk.
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Those at risk

Students who were more at risk were those who made more than $50 a week from a job or more than $10 from other sources. Students who lived in metropolitan areas were also at a higher risk, as well as those who already displayed teenage drug abuse, having used marijuana, alcohol, other illicit drugs or smoked cigarettes.

Researchers used data collected from an annual survey known as Monitoring the Future, which is administered to close to 15,000 high school seniors. The researchers used relevant data from 2007 to 2012.

Though socioeconomic status can sometimes affect teenagers’ drug use or addiction, the researchers found that active prevention of using other drugs helps teens abstain from using ecstasy.

The scientists also noted that since there is a discrepancy in knowledge between using the word “molly” and “ecstasy,” more students could be using the drug than were shown in the data.

Educate early for prevention

Researchers stated that in order to protect your child from using ecstasy, he or she must be educated on the dangers of the drug and other drugs at a young age. Ecstasy is highly addictive due to the positive experiences surrounding drug use. It is also becoming increasingly dangerous due to the development of drugs that mimic ecstasy but are not actually the same thing and could be more harmful. Though club-goers are often targeted for education on the dangers of ecstasy given its emerging popularity, researchers believe that the education should target the general public.

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