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Ecstasy and Gateway Drugs: Initiating the Use of Ecstasy and Other Drugs (2007)

Ecstasy and Gateway Drugs: Initiating the Use of Ecstasy and Other Drugs (2007)

  1. Jatelka
    Annals of Epidemiology 2007 January; 17(1): 74–80

    Lesley W. Reid, Kirk W. Elifson, and Claire E. Sterk

    Purpose
    The main purposes of this study are to examine if, and to what extent, ecstasy use serves as a gateway to the use of hard drugs such as cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine and to compare the age of onset of alcohol and marijuana use and subsequent use of cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine among young adult ecstasy users.
    Methods: Face-to-face surveys were conducted with 268 young adult ecstasy users in Atlanta, Georgia. Subjects were solicited using the community identification process, including targeted sampling and guided recruitment. Data analysis involved discrete-time, event history analysis.
    Results: Results suggest that the age of onset of ecstasy use influences the initiation of cocaine and methamphetamine for our sample of active ecstasy users. In addition, alcohol and marijuana use precedes the initiation of cocaine and methamphetamine, but only marijuana influences the initiation of heroin.
    Conclusions: The sequential progression of drug use proposed in the gateway literature is not immutable. Researchers must take into account the changing popularity of drugs over time, such as the emergence of ecstasy use, when identifying patterns of drug use onset