Publications & Reports

Prevalence of reagent test-kit use and perceptions of purity among ecstasy users in an electronic dance music scene in New York City.

Palamar JJ, Barratt MJ
New York University Langone Medical Center, New York, USA.


INTRODUCTION AND AIMS: Ecstasy users in the electronic dance music scene are at high risk for using ecstasy adulterated with new psychoactive substances and/or methamphetamine. We examined self-reported testing of ecstasy among users in this scene. DESIGN AND METHODS: We surveyed individuals (aged 18-40 years) entering electronic dance music parties in New York City in 2017. Past-year ecstasy users (n = 351) were asked if they had tested their ecstasy in the past year. We estimated prevalence and correlates of having tested one’s ecstasy. RESULTS: 23.1% reported having tested their ecstasy in the past year. Those with some college (adjusted prevalence ratio [aPR] = 0.49, P = 0.014) or a college degree (aPR = 0.41, P = 0.025) were less likely to test their ecstasy than those with a high school diploma or less. Using ecstasy pills (aPR = 1.89, P = 0.036) or crystals (aPR = 1.90, P = 0.006) >/=3 times in the past year was associated with increased likelihood of testing one’s ecstasy, and purchasing from an unknown or untrustworthy dealer was associated with decreased likelihood (aPR = 0.63, P = 0.034) of testing one’s ecstasy. Half (51.1%) of ecstasy users reported finding out or suspecting their ecstasy had contained a drug other than MDMA. Of these, 49.2% reported finding out their ecstasy contained methamphetamine or speed/amphetamine. Most ecstasy users reported that they would be less likely to use again upon learning their ecstasy contained ‘bath salts’ (54.8%) or methamphetamine (54.3%). DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS: Drug testing appears to help ecstasy users detect adulterants and results can help inform harm reduction efforts. Less frequent users in particular may require education about adulteration and drug-testing.

Link to publisher’s web site


  • Journal: Drug and Alcohol Review
  • Published: 01/01/2019
  • Volume: 38
  • Issue: 1
  • Pagination: 42-49