ECSTASY USERS 'CAN'T GIVE UP'
Taking ecstasy can damage social relationships
Hard-core ecstasy users may be aware of the risks involved in taking the
drug, but enjoy it too much to stop, new research suggests.
Warning such long-term users about the harmful effects of taking ecstasy is
futile, psychologist Dr Phil Murphy told a conference on Saturday.
His team questioned 328 ecstasy users, who had an average age of 22.
Those taking ecstasy for more than six years remained positive about it, the
British Psychological Society heard.
Maybe they've learned ways of coping with the negative effects, such as
taking different drugs
Dr Phil Murphy
Dr Murphy said explaining that ecstasy can cause paranoia, depression or
anxiety to these hard-core users was a waste of time.
The results of his survey showed that while the young people involved saw
taking ecstasy as a positive experience at first, the feelings of euphoria
and closeness to others it produced became less pronounced.
Some gave up the drug, finding its after-effects too unpleasant, but it was
noticeable that those who had been taking ecstasy for more than six years
continued to view the drug positively.
'Part of lifestyle'
Dr Murphy was speaking at the British Psychological Society's annual
conference at Imperial College, London.
He said there could be a positive balance to the results.
"Maybe they've learned ways of coping with the negative effects, such as
taking different drugs, for example," he said.
"They still think it's worthwhile and part of their lifestyle."
Instead of telling such users about the downside to the drug, Dr Murphy said
it was better to emphasise the kind of social damage ecstasy could inflict -
such as broken relationships and its impact on a person's employment
Health aspects the users might not be aware of could also be highlighted,
such as memory impairment.
Giving these warnings earlier would also help, he added.
Another study led by researchers at Liverpool John Moores University showed
that taking ecstasy damaged long-term memory.