How many people use MDMA?

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Among the general population, MDMA use is not very common. According to the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, only 0.3 percent of people aged 12 and older reported using “ecstasy” in the past month, 1 percent reported using it in the past year, and 6.8 percent reported using at least once in their lifetime.1 The statistics for young people break down like this:

  • Among young people ages 12-17, just 0.2 percent reported using MDMA in the past month (compared to 7 percent using marijuana and 11.6 percent using alcohol), and 0.9 percent in the past year (compared to 13.4 percent using marijuana and 24.6 percent using alcohol).2
  • Four percent of young adults ages 18-25 reported using MDMA in the past year (compared to 31.6 percent using marijuana and 76.8 percent using alcohol), and just 0.9 percent reported using it in the past month (compared to 19.1 percent using marijuana and 59.6 percent using alcohol).3
  • According to the annual Monitoring the Future survey, approximately one percent of college students and other young adults ages 19-28 reported using MDMA in the past month (compared to 21.6 percent using marijuana and 64.9 percent using alcohol).4

A significant portion of this drug’s use, especially among young people, takes place in nightlife and festival settings. Nearly 80,000 young adults around the world who use drugs were surveyed for the Global Drugs Survey in 2014. Among this sample – over 50 percent of whom reported going “clubbing” at least four times per year – MDMA was in the top five drugs used in the past year. More than 20 percent of U.S. respondents reported using MDMA in the past year.5

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  1. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, "Results from the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health," (Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2014), Table 1.1B.
  2. Ibid., Tables 7.5B & 7.6B.
  3. Ibid., Tables 7.8B & 7.9B.
  4. Lloyd D. Johnston et al., Monitoring the Future national survey results on drug use, 1975–2013: Volume 2, College students and adults ages 19–55 (Ann Arbor: Institute for Social Research, The University of Michigan, 2014), Table 2.3.
  5. A. Winstock, "The Global Drug Survey 2014 findings," http://www.globaldrugsurvey.com/.

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People deserve accurate, non-judgmental information about MDMA and other drugs

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Shelley's Story

Shelley’s Story

Shelley Goldsmith was 19 when she died after taking MDMA and going to a club in DC. Her mother, Dede Goldsmith, believes her death may have been preventable if drug education and harm reduction services were more widely available and accepted.

Learn more about Dede’s campaign and the work of DPA’s Music Fan program to promote compassionate, health-based responses to drug use at festivals, concerts and clubs.

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