Recent research indicates that 3,4-methylene-dioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), also known as ‘ecstasy’, is becoming increasingly popular as an illicit drug among young people. This study investigated risk and harm reduction practices among recreational ecstasy users. A semi-structured interview with 40 participants was designed to investigate how ecstasy users identify and manage the harms associated with their drug use, and the underlying decision-making process. Overall, the participants identified both positive and negative effects. The reported positive effects predominantly centred around enhanced psychological, physiological and social experiences. However, there were a number of factors that contributed to regulating ecstasy use. These included specific in-group and out-group practices executed within the peer group, preventative harm-reducing practices, shared decision making, and shared responsibility for harm prevention. Recommendations for promoting harm reduction strategies and suggestions for future research are discussed.
Available online 1 January 2005
Field of Research
170106 Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology
Socio Economic Objective
970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences