eCite Digital Repository

Alcohol use and risk taking among regular ecstasy users


Breen, C and Degenhardt, L and Kinner, S and Bruno, RB and Jenkinson, R and Matthews, AJ and Newman, J, Alcohol use and risk taking among regular ecstasy users, Substance Use & Misuse, 41, (8) pp. 1095-1109. ISSN 1082-6084 (2006) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1080/10826080500411528


We examine alcohol use in conjunction with ecstasy use and risk-taking behaviors among regular ecstasy users in every capital city in Australia. Data on drug use and risks were collected in 2004 from a national sample of 852 regular ecstasy users (persons who had used ecstasy at least monthly in the preceding 6 months). Users were grouped according to their typical alcohol use when using ecstasy: no use, consumption of between one and five standard drinks, and consumption of more than five drinks ("binge" alcohol use). The sample was young, well educated, and mainly working or studying. Approximately two thirds (65%) of the regular ecstasy users reported drinking alcohol when taking ecstasy. Of these, 69% reported usually consuming more than five standard drinks. Those who did not drink alcohol were more disadvantaged, with greater levels of unemployment, less education, higher rates of drug user treatment, and prison history. They were also more likely than those who drank alcohol when using ecstasy to be drug injectors and to be hepatitis C positive. Excluding alcohol, drug use patterns were similar between groups, although the no alcohol group used cannabis and methamphetamine more frequently. Binge drinkers were more likely to report having had three or more sexual partners in the past 6 months and were less likely to report having safe sex with casual partners while under the influence of drugs. Despite some evidence that the no alcohol group were more entrenched drug users, those who typically drank alcohol when taking ecstasy were as likely to report risks and problems associated with their drug use. It appears that regular ecstasy users who binge drink are placing themselves at increased sexual risk when under the influence of drugs. Safe sex messages should address the sexual risk associated with substance use and should be tailored to reducing alcohol consumption, particularly targeting "heavy" alcohol users. The study's limitations are noted. Copyright © 2006 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Health services and systems
Research Field:Health services and systems not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Public health (excl. specific population health) not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Bruno, RB (Associate Professor Raimondo Bruno)
UTAS Author:Matthews, AJ (Dr Allison Matthews)
ID Code:40978
Year Published:2006
Web of Science® Times Cited:35
Deposited By:Psychology
Deposited On:2006-08-01
Last Modified:2007-04-25

Repository Staff Only: item control page