From 2003-2011, the prevalence of criminal activity has fluctuated among regular ecstasy users (REU) in Australia. In 2011, it was found that over two-thirds (38%) of REU had committed some form of crime in the month preceding interview.
Selling drugs for cash profit remains the most common crime committed by REU, although the prevalence of property offences has more than doubled over this time frame (from 7% in 2003 to 18% in 2011). Fraud and violent crime remain low among this sample.
The use of drugs and/or alcohol was heavily implicated in the commission of property and violent offences. More specifically, in 2011, 37% of those who had committed a property crime – and 74% of those who had committed a violent crime - reported being under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol at the time of their last offence. Alcohol was the primary drug involved in both offence categories.
There were a number of demographic, drug use and lifestyle variables that were found to be significantly associated with past month criminal activity. After conducting a logistic regression analysis, the variables that remained significant were age, frequent cannabis use and a higher score on the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K10). That is, ecstasy users who were younger, used cannabis at least weekly and who had higher levels of psychological distress were more likely to have engaged in past month criminal activity.