Safety concerns as ecstasy makes a comeback in Australia

Ecstasy market makes a comeback with a shift to crystal form of the drug

New research suggests ecstasy is making a comeback in Australia, with new calls to rethink pill-testing and quality control.

Following a disruption to the supply of ecstasy in 2008 and again in 2010-11, availability has returned, said Amanda Roxburgh from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) at the University of NSW.

Of those who use ecstasy more are choosing to take the illicit drug in crystal form, which is higher in purity.

The Ecstasy and Related Drugs Reporting System (EDRS), which surveys regular psychostimulant users every year to determine trends in the market, found that nearly 60 per cent of users took ecstasy in a high-purity crystal form.

Participants in the survey – who were predominantly aged 23, male and well educated – first mentioned use of crystal ecstasy in 2012.

"Since then we have seen a steady year-on-year increase in the reported use of crystal ecstasy," said Ms Roxburgh.

"While pills are still the most common form reportedly used, the increasing popularity of ecstasy crystals appears to be linked to their increased purity."

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