Over the past few years an increasing number of Australians have used drugs such as ecstasy. Some people have been using the drug for a number of years and have found that they don’t always get the effects that they are after. In an effort to increase the effects they are after, some people are turning to pharmaceutical drugs for that additional buzz.

There are a huge range of drugs that have an effect on serotonin, particularly many of the new antidepressants, and as a result some ecstasy users are mixing and matching. Other drugs that have been used in conjunction with ecstasy, according to anecdotal reports, include the anti-Parkinsonism range of drugs, as well as attention deficit hyperactive disorder medication such as Ritalin and dexamphetamine.

Party drug users, many of whom have become disillusioned with, or tolerant to the effects of, ecstasy appear to be looking for ways to increase and/or lengthen their period of party drug intoxication. These drugs may be combined to increase the effect of the party drug or may also be an attempt to negate an undesirable side-effect of the party drug. Some party drug users, for example, subscribe to the myth that taking an anti-depressant with ecstasy can reduce the potential neurotoxic effects of MDMA. Such drug combinations may bring about a variety of negative symptoms.

The National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) is currently conducting a survey designed to examine the patterns of use and experiences of party drug users who combine their drug of choice (ecstasy) with a range of pharmaceutical drugs. These findings will assist in the development of harm reduction strategies among current and potential young party drug users.

One hundred party drug users who have combined their drug of choice with one or more of a range of pharmaceutical products, either to increase or lengthen party drug intoxication and/or to reduce perceived negative effects of the party drug, will be interviewed.

There are increasing numbers of anecdotal reports from doctors, particularly in inner-city areas of the country, that patients are requesting pharmaceutical drugs by name in an attempt to increase and/or lengthen intoxication. We know little about the effects of this practice. We believe that one of the reasons why this could be on the rise is that we have educated users so well on the dangers of using illicit drugs and the fact that you never really know what is in street drugs that they have simply added pharmaceutical drugs to the mix because they know they are quality substances. What is agreed by all health experts is that mixing substances, whether legal or illegal, increases the risks of something going wrong.

NDARC researchers want to know what your experiences have been. If you have mixed ecstasy with any pharmaceutical drug, such as antidepressants, Ritalin, anti-Parkinsonism medication or even Viagra, we would like to hear from you. Please call Michael on 9385 0333 -“ he will make an appointment and you will be paid $25 for out-of-pocket expenses for a 40-minute interview.

Remember: if you do not want any negative consequences, do not use the drug, and no matter how many times you have used a substance, never be blas?

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