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Keywords:

  • cannabis;
  • club drugs;
  • ecstasy;
  • 3, 4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine;
  • polydrug use

Aims

The aim of this study was to examine the prevalence of 3, 4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) use and to identify characteristics of MDMA users among rave attendees in Japan. This is the first rave-population study focusing on MDMA use in Japan.

Methods

The anonymous self-administrative questionnaire was conducted using laptop computers at four rave parties at three different venues in Tokyo, Japan. Participants were asked about lifetime use of MDMA and other club drug use, characteristics of rave attendance, and their demographics.

Results

Questionnaires were completed by 300 rave attendees (47.3% female), 68.3% of whom were aged 20–29 years, and 92.3% of whom had completed high school. Among the participants, 8.0% reported MDMA use. Compared with ‘non-drug controls’ (the participants who had never used any illicit drugs), MDMA users were significantly more likely to be 30–39-year-old men. In addition, compared with ‘cannabis users’ (non-MDMA users who had used cannabis), MDMA users were significantly more likely to use other drugs and reported more adverse health effects due to ‘polydrug use’. Furthermore, MDMA users were significantly more likely to go to raves and preferred smaller venues.

Conclusions

Our results clearly suggest that rave attendees have a higher lifetime prevalence of MDMA use than the Japanese general population (0.2% reported in 2007). MDMA users are deeply involved in rave parties, and MDMA use may have high potential to generate close relationships among rave attendees. Therefore, MDMA users may have more opportunities to access MDMA than cannabis users and non-drug controls.