Since 1993, the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) seizures of Ecstasy have increased a thousand fold (DEA, 1999). From 1998 to 2000, emergency room mentions increased by 295 percent and more than 80 percent were for patients younger than 26 (CEWG, 2001). The escalating use of Ecstasy portends an increased demand for it, leading perhaps to the convergence of drug markets (suppliers adding a new drug to their product line) or the emergence of new dealer networks. To date, very little is known about Ecstasy distribution. The overall aim of this proposed 36-month project is to conduct a qualitative study of Ecstasy distribution in San Francisco. The first phase will consist of key informant interviews and field observations in three settings identified by our own and other investigators' work in this area as the main settings where Ecstasy as well as other club drugs are used and sold: 1) raves or public dance parties; 2) clubs; 3) private parties. During the second phase of the research, employing ethnographic sampling techniques, we will recruit 120 participants (40 from each type of setting) who have sold or exchanged five or more Ecstasy doses five or more times in the previous six months. We will interview individuals involved in Ecstasy distribution who are 16 years of age or older and reside in the San Francisco Bay Area. By extending the study to relatively low level sellers in numerous settings, we hope to interview a full range of distributors, from user/sellers to sellers who do not use, from initiates to long term dealers, from sellers who sell Ecstasy only to those who sell other club drugs as well, from small scale go-betweens to larger wholesalers, and from sellers and buyers who are strangers to those who are friends or relatives. Project findings will provide much needed empirical information about the ways in which Ecstasy sellers' social relationships impact health and social behaviors in order to design more effective and appropriate public health initiatives and prevention messages. This study's findings will be published in forms appropriate to three audiences -- clinicians, people who work in drug treatment and prevention programs and social scientists. ? ?

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Research Project (R01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-SNEM-1 (01))
Program Officer
Obrien, Moira
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Scientific Analysis Corporation
San Francisco
United States
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Duterte, Micheline; Jacinto, Camille; Sales, Paloma et al. (2009) What's in a label? Ecstasy sellers' perceptions of pill brands. J Psychoactive Drugs 41:27-37
Jacinto, Camille; Duterte, Micheline; Sales, Paloma et al. (2008) Maximising the highs and minimising the lows: harm reduction guidance within ecstasy distribution networks. Int J Drug Policy 19:393-400