Clubbers Mental Health Risk

Clubbers who take ecstasy are 25% more likely to have a mental health disorder, compared to the general population, a survey has found. The UK average is one in five. Its findings back up previous scientific concerns over a link between ecstasy and mental health problems.
Ecstasy users are also twice as likely to have seen a doctor about a mental health problem compared to the rest of the population. Half of them asked about depression, which scientists believe could be linked to use of the Class A drug. But one in 10 users believed that taking ecstasy had made their lives worse overall. Both ecstasy and cocaine have been linked with mental health problems such as paranoia, panic attacks and depression.

Widespread drug use
The extent of drug use amongst clubbers is graphically illustrated by the fact 97% of 1 000 people surveyed said they had tried both E and cannabis at least once. Eleven per cent have tried heroin.
Mixmag estimates 1.5m people take ecstasy every weekend. But it says consumption has dropped by 13% among regular users. Ecstasy use had resulted in unplanned sex for one in three, one in 100 of which resulted in pregnancies. Half said their performance at work had been affected because of the drug. But the survey also found clubbers had developed a novel way of ensuring Ecstasy got into their bloodstream as quickly as possible – by taking it as a suppository. One in 15 surveyed by Mixmag admitted they had taken the drug in this way, a 200% increase compared to last year. Inserting it into the rectum allows the body to absorb it more quickly because of the large number of blood vessels in the anus.

Cocaine use fell 4%, though 45% of those surveyed said they still took the drug on a regular basis. Almost a third of cocaine users reported suffering a nosebleed after snorting the drug. Drug use appeared to be linked closely with high levels of alcohol use. More than a third of men who responded to the survey spent more than four nights a week in the pub. All respondents were three-and-a-half times more likely to injure themselves on alcohol than on ecstasy. They were also two-and-a-half times more likely to end up in the local casualty department. The survey also showed one in three said they had been violent on alcohol, compared with one in 10 on ecstasy. Twice as many had driven on ecstasy than on alcohol but drink drivers had a higher accident rate.

Source: Mixmag Survey. Dr Adam Winstock, National Addiction Centre University, Kent, Jan 2002

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