Ecstasy is one of the few drugs that has become more prominent within the Australian community, particularly among young people. A recent Australian study indicated that one fifth of ecstasy users reported using weekly or more often, and that almost half used more than one tablet per average use episode. This is of concern, as several studies indicate that ecstasy is associated with a range of short- and long-term harms, such as depression, insomnia, and neurological changes. Despite widespread use and acknowledgment of harm, few ecstasy users seek treatment. Data from the National Minimum Dataset for 2003-2004 revealed that only 0.4% of drug treatment episodes were ecstasy related. This suggests that interventions should be developed that facilitate treatment seeking. The objective of the current study is to evaluate a brief motivational intervention (ecstasy Check-up) for regular ecstasy users compared to an educational control intervention. The Ecstasy Check-up consists of 50-minutes of personalized feedback delivered within a motivational interviewing framework. The feedback is based on a comprehensive assessment of an individual’s ecstasy use, associated problems, motivation, and self-efficacy for change. The education intervention consists of a few pages factsheet on ecstasy harms and usage norms.
- To evaluate the effect of the Ecstasy Check-Up intervention results in more days of continuous abstinence, fewer days of total use and lower quantity of use at one-, four- and six-month follow-ups than individuals who receive education only. To evaluate whether individuals who receive the ecstasy Check-Up will meet fewer DSM-IV dependence criteria at one-month, four-month and six-month follow-up than individuals who receive education only.
- To evaluate if individuals who receive the Ecstasy Check-Up intervention will be more motivated to change their ecstasy use at one-month, four-month, and six-month follow-ups than individuals who receive education only. To evaluate if the difference between conditions will be more pronounced for heavy ecstasy users than for mild and moderate users.
- To examine if sessions in which therapist adhered to motivational interviewing principles more so will be related to greater improvements in motivation, self-efficacy for reducing ecstasy use, and greater reductions in ecstasy use than sessions in which therapist adhered to motivational interviewing principles less so.
The Ecstasy Check-Up is a two-group randomized controlled trial. Participants are followed up at one, four and six months post baseline session. The study is conducted at two sites: the NDARC therapy offices and the Institute of Health & Behavioural Innovation, the Queensland University of Technology.
174 individuals enrolled in the trial. Hypothesis testing will begin in 2012.