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Addiction. 2006 Jul;101(7):1014-26.

An evaluation of a brief motivational intervention among young ecstasy and cocaine users: no effect on substance and alcohol use outcomes.

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Division of Psychological Medicine, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, London, UK.



To investigate whether a stimulant- and alcohol-focused brief motivational intervention induces positive behaviour change among young, regular users of MDMA ('ecstasy'), cocaine powder and crack cocaine.


A randomized trial of the intervention versus a control group who received written health risk information materials only. All participants completed a baseline self-assessment questionnaire before randomization. Outcome measures were self-reported period prevalence abstinence from ecstasy, cocaine powder and crack cocaine and the frequency and amount of stimulant and alcohol use in the previous 90 days, recorded at 6-month follow-up via self-completion questionnaire and personal interview.


A total of 342 adolescent and young adult stimulant users (aged 16-22 years) were recruited and 87% were followed-up. The intervention was delivered by a team of 12 agency youth drug workers and two researchers at five locations in Greater London and south-east England.


There were no significant differences in abstinence for ecstasy, cocaine powder or crack cocaine use between the experimental and control groups. Contrasting follow-up with baseline self-reports, there were no between-group effects for changes in the frequency or amount of stimulant or alcohol use. Participant follow-up data suggested that the baseline assessment was a contributing factor in within-group behaviour change among experimental and control condition participants.


Our brief motivational intervention was no more effective at inducing behaviour change than the provision of information alone. We hypothesize that research recruitment, baseline self-assessment and contact with study personnel are influences that induce positive reactive effects on stimulant use.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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