Ecstasy makes comeback
Ecstasy purity is increasing once again leading to a corresponding rise in its use, according to the latest research into drug trends by the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) at the University of New South Wales.
The research from the Centre’s annual Drug Trends reporting team examined trends in drug use among a sample of 600 regular ecstasy users over a six month period this year.
The changes in purity and availability of ecstasy have been most profound in NSW where less than a fifth of users reported low purity compared with 53 per cent of users in 2011.
The Australian findings mirror a comeback in ecstasy availability around the world according to The World Drug Report 2012 by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.
The research also found that use of LSD has significantly decreased in 2012 (34 per cent, down from 46 per cent in 2011) while ketamine and GHB use remained stable.
Cocaine use decreased, but more users reported the purity of cocaine as “high”.
Another concerning trend is that 12 per cent of ecstasy users reported taking capsules of “unknown content” without a name, NSW co-ordinator of the Ecstasy and Related Drugs Reporting System Laura Scott said.
“As the availability of synthetic drugs increases, drug taking is becoming more opportunistic. It is more important than ever for people to take precautionary measures to protect themselves against adverse effects,” she told SX.
According to the annual study, around 40 per cent of users binge while on ecstasy and other drugs – that is using a drug on a continuous basis for more than 48 hours without sleep.
“This is also cause for concern,”Scott said. “Bingeing is associated with a number of very risky behaviours, unsafe sex, atypical drug use (for this sample) such as injecting and sharing needles, and driving under the influence.”
40 per cent of the sample reported having between two and five casual sexual partners over the previous six months and 92 per cent had penetrative sex with a casual partner while on drugs.