Women Risk Higher Rates of MDMA-Related Emergency Medical Treatment

Ecstasy MDMA Pills

It’s officially festival season, and like every year, we can expect a steady stream of screaming headlines focused on drug-related overdoses, hospitalizations, and deaths. The relationship between electronic music and drugs (especially MDMA) is controversial, but can not be ignored. Organizations like DanceSafe and the Drug Policy Alliance have worked hard–within legal boundaries and against all odds–to build relationships with promoters and ensure that their message of harm reduction is heard loud and clear. Another group at the forefront of the harm reduction movement is Global Drug Survey, an independent research organisation that surveys drug users around the world, then presents that data in an accessible format touted as “the guide to safer more enjoyable drug use.”

Global Drug Survey’s “GDS 2015” was recently released and it has some pretty bad news about MDMA use. Self-reported MDMA-related hospitalizations have increased 200% over the last two years, from .3% of users in 2013 to .6% last year and .9% this year. Even worse? Women are nearly twice as likely to seek emergency treatment as men are. Mixmag broke the news:

“Rates were significantly higher in women than men (1.3% v 0.7%) with the highest rates in women under 21 years of age and those with a history of mental illness (2.2%). Higher rates were also seen in more frequent users, with over 3% of those reporting use on more than 50 occasions reporting seeking help. Only one in eight of those who reported seeking emergency medical treatment had taken ecstasy by itself, with alcohol and other drug use being present in the remainder.”

It’s important to note that MDMA users sought medical attention at a lower rate than marijuana and alcohol users–at a rate nearly half of the aggregated “any drug” category, but across all categories, women were more likely to seek medical treatment than men. This graph from GDS 2015 breaks it down:

GDS 2015 Emergency Medical Treatment Stats All Drugs

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