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Can J Psychiatry. 2002 Aug;47(6):546-51.

Ecstasy and drug consumption patterns: a Canadian rave population study.

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National Addiction Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College, London, UK.



This study investigates the drug consumption patterns of a sample of rave attendees in the city of Montreal, Quebec, and seeks to identify the prevalence of 3,4-methylendioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) and other drug use in this population.


We administered a self-report questionnaire to 210 respondents. For various licit and illicit substances, participants reported their age of first use, number of lifetime uses, and usage in the previous 30 days.


We found a significant rank order for the sequence of first use: 1) alcohol, 2) nicotine, 3) cannabis, 4) LSD, 5) psilocybin, 6) amphetamine, 7) cocaine, 8) MDMA, 9) gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB), 10) ephedrine, 11) ketamine. Alcohol and cannabis were the most commonly used substances, both in cumulative number of lifetime uses and in usage in the preceding 30 days. MDMA and amphetamine were also notable as the next 2 most popular drugs for use in the preceding 30 days and in terms of those who had tried the drugs at least once. We identified a progressive rank order of experimentation, with early alcohol or cannabis use (or both) associated with the early use of all other drugs tried by more than 25% of the sample. We found MDMA and amphetamine use to be prevalent, as was general experimentation with all drugs studied, other than heroin.


Drug consumption levels were substantial in this "rave" population, particularly with respect to recent use of MDMA, amphetamine, cannabis, and alcohol. Results also indicate that the sequence of drug experimentation in this population follows an identifiable pattern.

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