Survey into ecstacy use
YOUNG ecstasy users will reveal their habits and experiences in a survey that will try to establish why it has become one of the nation's most popular drugs.
Melbourne research and rehabilitation organisation Turning Point is seeking 400 people aged 16 to 25 who have used ecstasy in the past year to participate in three anonymous email surveys.
It will question users, who will be paid for their time, on the frequency of their use, the drug's effects and side effects, and whether they use it with other drugs.
Research fellow Amy Pennay said ecstasy was the second most commonly used drug in the country behind cannabis.
"At Turning Point we haven't traditionally done a lot of research into ecstasy . . . because ecstasy isn't associated with dependence or the need for treatment, generally," Ms Pennay said.
"Having said that, the number of users has nearly doubled over the past 10 years."
She said it appeared that no in-depth studies into the drug had taken place because of its relative "newness" and because serious harm from ecstasy was rare.
It follows an Advertiser investigation that revealed young people were turning to ecstasy as it was cheaper than drinking alcohol at nightclubs.
Drug and Alcohol Services SA drug monitoring and research director, Professor Jason White, said using ecstasy could harm a young person's developing brain.
"Contemporary understanding is the brain continues to develop to 25 years old and a lot of ecstasy use is occurring at the time people are undergoing brain development," Prof White said.
He welcomed the survey. "We need to find out more about ecstasy use and the problems associated because we do have such a high rate (of use) in Australia," he said.
"It's almost becoming an accepted drug in a way that cannabis has in some groups."
December 29, 2009 12:01am