Bulletin | 01 10 2015


An overview of the 2015 Ecstasy and Related Drugs Reporting System

Key Findings

  • 763 regular psychostimulant users (RPU) participants took part in the EDRS in 2015. Participants were primarily recruited through word-of-mouth and the internet.
  • Preference for ecstasy has significantly declined and cannabis has significantly increased with 30% of the EDRS sample reporting ecstasy and 29% reporting cannabis as their drug of choice in 2015. The proportion reporting recent use of cannabis has also significantly increased as has use of cannabis when ‘coming down’ from ecstasy.
  • Despite a significant decrease in the proportion reporting recent use of ecstasy, the most popular form of ecstasy consumed on a regular basis was still pill (tablet) form. There remains an increasing trend in the use of MDMA crystal/rock with 2015 being the second year this data has been collected. This form was considered to be a more potent form of ecstasy with 56% of MDMA crystal/rock users reporting it being of ‘high’ purity compared to 20% of those reporting pills, powder and caps as ‘high’.
  • Speed powder remained the form of methamphetamine used by most RPU with a quarter of the sample reporting recent use. However, recent use of speed powder and base was reported by significantly lower proportions of RPU in 2015 compared to 2014. The recent use of ice/crystal remained stable in 2015 with 1 in 5 participants reporting recent ice/crystal use. There was also a significant increase in those reporting that ice/crystal was ‘easy’ or ‘very easy’ to obtain.
  • The recent use of new psychoactive substances (NPS) remained steady with one-third of the sample having used NPS in the past six months. The frequency of use remains low (1-2 days over a six month period). The most commonly reported NPS were: 2C-B, DMT and NBOMe.
  • Synthetic cannabis stabilized at low levels (6%) which is comparable to 2014 figures.
  • Recent use of cocaine, LSD, ketamine and GHB was also stable from 2014 to 2015.
  • The recent use of cannabis and tobacco increased significantly among RPU in 2015.
  • Alcohol is the second most commonly used drug among this group with 97% reporting recent use on a median of 48 days (twice weekly).