Characteristics and social representation of ecstasy in Europe.
Calafat, A., Stocco, P., Mendes, F., Simon, J., Van de Vijngaart, G., Sureda, P., Palmer, A., Maalsté, N. and Zavatti, P.
(1998) Palma de Mallorca: IREFREA.
This research has been carried out in five different European cities, from a sample of 1.627 young individuals, and its results provide a general view of the matter that makes possible to reach important conclusions. Moreover, it clearly shows the ecstasy users difficulty in accepting they are dealing with a real drug, since they don’t realise they are drug users and believe they only take this synthetic substance in order to enhance physical and psychological abilities and a better socialisation.
As the research points out this false idea makes young individuals think they are socially integrated, which shows a contrast with the fact that even that they are not marginal people, they present important differences with the control group used in the study. The importance of this study as an empirical research is to show the different motivations and new attitudes of the synthetic drug users in relation to stronger drug users.
The present investigation also provides new data concerning the following objectives:
1) To define, from a personal, familiar and social level, the typology of ecstasy users.
2) To distinguish between the recreative nature of ecstasy use and the socialization attempts facilitated in a illusory way by the substance empathogenous effects.
3) Allow to identify not real ways of socialisation but illusions of it, that it is mainly possible to find out by a research of the preferred places for ecstasy use.
4) Investigate the relationship between ecstasy use, the search of risk behaviours and deviant behaviours frequency.
5) Study in depth the different social representations of ecstasy, in relation to consumers as well as non consumers.
The conclusions of this research corroborate, in an experimental way and from the perspective of a comparative study in Europe, what we knew about the expectations among ecstasy users, as well as the under-evaluation of its dangers and, at the same time, the overvaluation of its efficacy among non consumers.
As a result of the investigation it becomes clear the need for a programme planning and the setting of a series of different prevention strategies according to the type of use and the degree of drug involvement among young ecstasy users.