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Ecstasy – also known as 3, 4-Methylene dioxymetham-phetamine, or MDMA - has become one of the most notorious “club” drugs (Havere et al., 2011). SAMHSA (2015) reported that 6.8% of the U.S. population over the age of 12 had reported lifetime use of ecstasy. It has become popular as a social activity due to its subjective effects, such as feelings of connectedness, empathy, and heightened sensuality and sexuality (Leslie et al., 2015; Lee et al., 2010). Because of this, ecstasy use is prevalent among musical events such as nightclubs, festivals, and raves (Leslie et al., 2015). Prior studies on ecstasy users’ attitudes of perceived risk show that while some may understand that there are health risks involved, others believe that there is no harm at all in using ecstasy (Martins et al., 2011). The Harm Reduction Drugs Education (HDRE) approach argues that because the illicit usage of drugs cannot necessarily be stopped, the next step in safety would be to reduce or minimize any harm that can occur from using substances through harm-reduction practices (Akram & Galt, 1999). I hypothesize that higher ecstasy exposure will predict a higher sense of risk, which in turn will be a predictor of utilization of harm-reduction practices among ecstasy users.

The sample consisted of over 100 college students located in the San Francisco Bay Area. Participants were recruited through snowball sampling through social media and by classroom invitation. They were given a survey consisting of their Index of Habit Strength, an Ecstasy Use History Questionnaire (Davis, 2016) as well as three questions on Perceived Risk (Martins et al., 2011). The predicted results are that those who attend musical events are more exposed to ecstasy and that those with more exposure associate risk with usage. Results are also expected to demonstrate that one’s perception of risk will indicate engagement in harm-reduction practices, such as drinking water/electrolyte – rich fluids, preloading/postloading, and pill-checking (Davis, 2016). This research will advocate for implementation of harm-reduction practices as well as furthering knowledge on safety in recreational drug use.



Faculty Advisor

Veronica Fruiht, Ph.D.

Publication Date



San Rafael, CA


Ecstasy, Molly, MDMA, College Students



Have a Safe Trip: Ecstasy Exposure, Perceived Risk, and Harm-Reduction Practices Among College Students

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