Magazine article USA TODAY

Ecstasy Usage Increasing among Teenagers. (Drug Abuse)

Magazine article USA TODAY

Ecstasy Usage Increasing among Teenagers. (Drug Abuse)

Article excerpt

Use of the drug ecstasy continued to rise among American teenagers in 2001, following sharp increases among young adults and adolescents in recent years, but the rate of growth finally is beginning to slow. That result comes from the national survey in the Monitoring the Future series, conducted annually for the past 27 years by the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, Ann Arbor, which included about 44,000 students in 424 public and private secondary schools.

Ecstasy, also known as MDMA (methylenedioxymethamphetamine), is a stimulant drug, often taken for its hallucinogenic effects. It first became popular in the "rave" and all-night party scene, and its use spread and began to increase sharply in 1999. The proportions of eighth-, 10th-, and 12th-graders who reported having ever taken ecstasy in 2001 were five, eight, and 12%, respectively.

"In the past, we have seen a turnaround in use occur for other drugs as a result of more young people seeing them as dangerous," study director Lloyd D. Johnson observes. "We have been saying for some time that the use of this drug will not turn around until young people begin to see its use as risky, and this year, for the first time, they are finally beginning to see it as more dangerous." The proportion of 12th-graders (the only ones asked about their perceptions of risk for this drug) saying that there is a great risk associated with experimenting with ecstasy jumped from 38% in 2000 to 46% in 2001. …

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