OBJECTIVE: As there are no studies about the use of ecstasy in Brazil, our aim was to identify the effects and patterns of use of this substance among users in the city of São Paulo. METHODS: Subjects were recruited through the snowball technique. Fifty-two subjects of both genders who had been using ecstasy frequently and recently were interviewed. The instrument was a self-reported and anonymous questionnaire. RESULTS: The sample's mean age was 24 years, mostly composed by single, college graduated middle-class subjects. Among the interviewed users, 61.6% used ecstasy at least once per week and 50% of them took one pill per episode of use and 46% more than one. Drug taking was usually performed in company of several people (63%) in contexts related to night leisure, such as rave parties (78.8%), dancing clubs (69.2%) and parties (53.8%). Ecstasy pills were mainly purchased from friends or acquaintances in order to favor a dancing mood in those places. Most subjects used ecstasy associated to other psychoactive drugs (93.3%), mainly Cannabis, followed by tobacco and LSD. The effects attributed to ecstasy were mainly positive. DISCUSSION: The use of ecstasy in São Paulo has had a recreational pattern quite similar to those described in previous studies. The assessment of the use of ecstasy as positive also agrees with the findings of the literature.
Ecstasy; N-methyl-3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine; Central nervous system stimulants; Hallucinogens; Psychotropic drugs; Snowball; Drug abuse