Volume 12, Number 2
Study Takes a Closer Look at "Ecstasy" Use
The synthetic drug "ecstasy," which has been used increasingly among college students and young adults in recent years, also is being used at relatively high levels by America's 8th, 10th, and 12th graders, according to NIDA's 1996 Monitoring the Future study. Nearly 5 percent of 10th and 12th graders and about 2 percent of 8th graders said they had used MDMA in the past year, the study reported.
Ecstasy, or MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine), is structurally similar to methamphetamine and the hallucinogen mescaline. Previous Monitoring the Future studies asked 12th graders about the use of MDMA by their friends and about the drug's availability. The 1996 study was the first to question 8th, 10th, and 12th graders about their own use of the drug. The new data on MDMA use among these students will provide baseline information that will be helpful in tracking trends in MDMA use from a younger age.
MDMA use has risen sharply among college students and young adults during the 1990s, according to the 1995 Monitoring the Future study. The 1995 study included followup data on drug use among a representative sample of college students and young adults who had previously taken part in the study when they were in high school. College students and young adults in this sample have been surveyed every 2 years since the Monitoring the Future study began in 1976. (For more information about MDMA, see "Like Methamphetamine, 'Ecstasy' May Cause Brain Damage," NIDA NOTES, November/December 1996)
The 1996 Monitoring the Future study is the first to provide data on 8th, 10th, and 12th graders' use of Ecstasy.
From NIDA NOTES, March/April 1997
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