Pills and pints: Risky drinking and alcohol-related harms among regular ecstasy users in Australia

Kinner, Stuart A., George, Jessica, Johnston, Jennifer, Dunn, Matthew and Degenhardt, Louisa (2011) Pills and pints: Risky drinking and alcohol-related harms among regular ecstasy users in Australia. Drug and Alcohol Review, 31 3: 273-280. doi:10.1111/j.1465-3362.2011.00348.x

Author Kinner, Stuart A.
George, Jessica
Johnston, Jennifer
Dunn, Matthew
Degenhardt, Louisa
Title Pills and pints: Risky drinking and alcohol-related harms among regular ecstasy users in Australia
Journal name Drug and Alcohol Review   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0959-5236
Publication date 2011-09-15
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/j.1465-3362.2011.00348.x
Open Access Status
Volume 31
Issue 3
Start page 273
End page 280
Total pages 8
Place of publication Oxford, United Kingdom
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Introduction and Aims. A significant proportion of young Australians engage in risky alcohol consumption, and an increasing minority are regular ecstasy (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine) users. Risky alcohol use, alone or in combination with ecstasy, is associated with a range of acute and chronic health risks.The aim of this study was to document the incidence and some health-related correlates of alcohol use, and concurrent alcohol and ecstasy use, among a large, national sample of regular ecstasy users (REU) in Australia.
Design and Methods. National, cross-sectional surveys of REU in Australia 2003–2008. Among REU in 2008 (n = 678) usual alcohol use, psychological distress and health-related quality of life were measured using the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test, Kessler Psychological Distress Scale and Short Form-8 Survey respectively.
Results. Among REU in 2008, 36% reported high-risk patterns of usual alcohol consumption, 62% reported usually consuming more than five standard drinks with ecstasy, and 24% reported currently experiencing high or very high levels of psychological distress. Controlling for age and education, high-risk drinking among REU was associated with higher levels of psychological distress and poorer health-related functioning; however, the associations between concurrent alcohol and ecstasy use, and health outcomes, were not significant (P > 0.05).
Discussion and Conclusions. A large and increasing proportion of REU in Australia engage in high-risk patterns of alcohol consumption, including in combination with ecstasy. High-risk alcohol consumption among this group is associated with adverse health-related outcomes. Prevention and harm reduction interventions for REU should incorporate messages about the risks associated with alcohol use. There is an ongoing need for youth-specific, coordinated alcohol and other drug and mental health services.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Published online 15 September 2011.

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2012 Collection
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Created: Thu, 22 Mar 2012, 23:05:19 EST by Geraldine Fitzgerald on behalf of School of Public Health