National Drug Strategy
National Drug Strategy

Australian secondary school students' use of tobacco, alcohol, and over-the-counter and illicit substances in 2011

5.10 Ecstasy

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Table 5.20 shows the proportion of students reporting the use of ecstasy over lifetime, past year and past month by age and gender.

Table 5.20: Ecstasy: Percentage of students in each age and gender grouping using ecstasy in each recency period, Australia, 2011#

Never used
12 yrs
(%)
13 yrs
(%)
14 yrs
(%)
15 yrs
(%)
16 yrs
(%)
17 yrs
(%)
Total
(%)
Males
99.0
99.0
97.5
95.4
95.5
93.9
96.8
Females
100.0
98.6
98.2
98.0
96.3
94.8
97.7
Total
99.5
98.8
97.9
96.7
95.9
94.4
97.3
Ever used
12 yrs
(%)
13 yrs
(%)
14 yrs
(%)
15 yrs
(%)
16 yrs
(%)
17 yrs
(%)
Total
(%)
Males
1.0
1.0
2.5
4.6
4.5
6.1
3.2
Females
0.0
1.4
1.8
2.0
3.7
5.2
2.3
Total
0.5
1.2
2.1
3.3
4.1
5.6
2.7
Past year
12 yrs
(%)
13 yrs
(%)
14 yrs
(%)
15 yrs
(%)
16 yrs
(%)
17 yrs
(%)
Total
(%)
Males
0.7
0.8
1.9
2.3
3.7
5.1
2.3
Females
0.0
0.8
1.4
1.7
3.0
3.7
1.7
Total
0.3
0.8
1.7
2.0
3.4
4.4
2.0
Past month
12 yrs
(%)
13 yrs
(%)
14 yrs
(%)
15 yrs
(%)
16 yrs
(%)
17 yrs
(%)
Total
(%)
Males
0.5
0.3
0.9
1.3
2.0
2.3
1.2
Females
0.0
0.4
0.7
0.2
1.2
1.2
0.6
Total
0.6
0.4
0.8
0.7
1.6
1.7
0.9

# Prevalence estimates are within  3.3% of the true population values (see section 2.6). See Appendix 4 for 95% Confidence interval estimates for different proportions for each age and gender group.

A small proportion of secondary school students had ever used ecstasy. Of all students, only 3% had ever used this drug. Similar to other substances, the proportion of students reporting to have ever used ecstasy increased with age: from 1% among 13-year-olds to 6% among 17-year-olds.

Use of ecstasy in the past month was consistently lower than use in the past year. Prevalence of use in the past month peaked at two per cent among 16- and 17-year-olds.

There were few gender differences in ecstasy use. Use only differed consistently across time periods between males and females at ages 12 and 15 with males more likely than females to report using ecstasy in their lifetime and in the past month. Gender differences were also seen for use in the past year among 12- year-olds.
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Regularity of use: Of the two per cent of students who reported using ecstasy in the past year, 49% of males and 65% of females had used it only once or twice.

5.10.1 Changes in the prevalence of ecstasy use between 2005 and 2011 The proportions of students reporting to have used ecstasy in each survey year between 2005 and 2011 are shown in Table 5.21.

Table 5.21: Percentage of students who had used ecstasy in their lifetime and in the past month in 2005, 2008 and 2011, Australia

12 to 15 years

Lifetime
2005
(%)
2008
(%)
2011
(%)
Males
3.6**
2.7
2.3
Females
2.5**
2.4**
1.3
Total
3.1**
2.6**
1.8

16 to 17 years

Lifetime
2005
(%)
2008
(%)
2011
(%)
Males
6.5
8.8**
5.2
Females
5.5
6.9**
4.4
Total
6.0
7.8**
4.8

Total

Lifetime
2005
(%)
2008
(%)
2011
(%)
Males
4.5**
4.4**
3.2
Females
3.3**
3.7**
2.3
Total
3.9**
4.1**
2.7

12 to 15 years

Past month
2005
(%)
2008
(%)
2011
(%)
Males
2.1**
1.5**
0.7
Females
0.9**
0.9**
0.4
Total
1.5**
1.2**
0.6

16 to 17 years

Past month
2005
(%)
2008
(%)
2011
(%)
Males
3.0
4.3**
2.1
Females
1.6
2.6**
1.2
Total
2.3
3.4**
1.6

Total

Past month
2005
(%)
2008
(%)
2011
(%)
Males
2.3**
2.3**
1.2
Females
1.1**
1.4**
0.6
Total
1.7**
1.8**
0.9

** Significantly different from 2011 p <0.01.

Among all 12- to 15-year-olds, there was a significant decrease in the proportion of students reporting to have used ecstasy in their lifetime and in the past month between 2005 and 2011 (p<0.01) and between 2011 and 2008 (p<0.01).

Among 16- and 17-year-olds, there was a significant decrease in the proportion of students indicating they had used ecstasy in their lifetime between 2008 and 2011 (p<0.01), but the 2011 proportion was similar to that found in 2005. The proportion of all 16- and 17-year-olds reporting to have used ecstasy in the month before the survey in 2011 was significantly lower than the proportion found in 2008 (p<0.01) but was not different from the proportion found in 2005.

When data was combined for all 12- to 17-year-olds, the proportion of students reporting to have used ecstasy in their lifetime and in the past month in 2011 was significantly lower than the proportions found in 2008 (p<0.01) and 2005 (p<0.01).

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