MDMA first gained popularity among adolescents and young adults in the nightclub scene or weekendlong dance parties known as raves. However, the profile of the typical MDMA user has been changing. Community-level data from NIDA's Community Epidemiology Work Group (CEWG), continued to report that use of MDMA has spread among populations outside the nightclub scene.
Reports also indicate that use is spreading beyond predominantly White youth to a broader range of ethnic groups. In Chicago, the drug continues to be predominantly used by White youth, but there are increasing reports of its use by African-American adults in their twenties and thirties. Also, indicators in New York suggest that both the distribution and use of club drugs are becoming more common in non-White communities.12
Other NIDA research shows that MDMA has also become a popular drug among urban gay males. Reports have shown that some gay and bisexual men take MDMA and other club drugs in myriad venues. This is concerning given that the use of club drugs has been linked to high-risk sexual behaviors that may lead to HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases. Many gay males in big cities report using MDMA as part of a multiple-drug experience that includes marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, ketamine, and other legal and illegal substances.13
This series of reports simplifies the science of research findings for the educated lay public, legislators, educational groups, and practitioners. The series reports on research findings of national interest.
Please note: After September 2013 all NIDA Research Reports will be offered online exclusively. Orders for printed hard copies must be received by August 15, 2013.
As a result of scientific research, we know that addiction is a disease that affects both brain and behavior.