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Study: Ravers 20% More Likely To Abuse Illicit Drugs Than Non-Ravers

An article published by New York University (NYU) is linking illicit drug use to “teen ravers.” Their exclusive findings concluded drug use, other than marijuana, is 20% higher in adolescents in this targeted sample than that of the general population. Their research used findings from the study Illicit Drug Use among Rave Attendees in a Nationally Representative Sample of US High School Seniors, which used data from Monitoring the Future (MTF), a national study of American secondary school student behavior, attitude and values.

The MTF survey is administered to approximately 130 public and private schools that span over 48 states and include roughly 15,000 high school seniors annually. NYU used the yearly findings of this survey from 2011-2013 to segregate 7,373 students who in addition to reporting their sociodemographic data, alcohol and drug use, were asked if they also attend “raves.” Researchers compared rates of recent use of various drugs according to whether or not any rave attendance was reported. They also examined differences by more frequent use (defined as use six or more times a year), and they also examined differences in use by level of rave attendance. Joseph J.

Joseph J. Palamar, PhD, MPH, and an assistant professor of Population Health at NYU Langone Medical Center (NYULMC) stated “One out of five students reported ever attending a rave, and 7.7% reported attending at least monthly,” further adding, “Females and highly religious students were less likely to attend raves, while students residing in cities, students with higher income and those who go out for fun multiple times per week were more likely to attend.”

“Use of each illicit drug other than marijuana was at least twice as prevalent among rave attendees, and the common “club drugs” ketamine and GHB were both almost six-times more prevalent among attendees,” said Palamar. “Higher frequency of rave attendance was consistently associated with higher odds for reporting recent use of each of the drugs assessed, especially use of the party drugs LSD, ketamine, GHB and methamphetamine.” Students who were asked about rave attendance were not asked about use of ecstasy, a major limitation in collected data. Also, the survey questions did not define “rave” so it is unclear whether all the surveyed students considered dance festivals or nightclubs “raves.” Palamar said “Our research findings shouldn’t be used to label or stigmatize the latest generation of nightlife and festival attendees. While rates of use are in fact higher in this population we need to keep in mind that two-thirds of rave attendees reported that they did not use drugs other than marijuana.”

[H/T New York University]

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