|Authors||Scholey, A.B., Parrott, A.C., Buchanan, T., Heffernan, T.M., Ling, J. and Rodgers, J.|
Recreational Ecstasy/MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine) users often take a variety of psychoactive drugs, but there is little empirical data on how these drug consumption patterns change with greater experience of Ecstasy. The aim of this study was to compare the polydrug usage patterns reported by non-Ecstasy users, novice Ecstasy users, moderate Ecstasy users, and heavy Ecstasy users. In a WWW study of 763 unpaid volunteers, 481 had never taken Ecstasy, whereas 282 reported they had taken it. The Ecstasy users comprised 109 novice users (1–9 occasions), 136 moderate Ecstasy users (10–99 occasions), and 36 heavy Ecstasy users (+100 occasions). Each participant also reported their experience with a range of other psychoactive drugs. The Ecstasy users reported significantly greater psychoactive drug usage than the non-Ecstasy users. The novice, moderate, and heavy Ecstasy users also differed significantly from each other in the use of cocaine, amphetamine, LSD, and psilocybin mushrooms, but not of alcohol, cannabis, or cigarettes/nicotine. Experienced Ecstasy users also took significantly more MDMA tablets on each occasion, and reported a higher maximum weekly intake. The increased use of Ecstasy is associated with more intensive patterns of Ecstasy/MDMA intake, and the greater use of illicit CNS stimulants and hallucinogens, but not of alcohol, nicotine, or cannabis. These results are discussed in the context of cross-tolerance and drug predisposition/preference.