Adolescent Exposure to Ecstasy or Cocaine Increases Risk of Addiction

A research team from the University of Valencia (UV) has found that adolescent exposure to ecstasy or cocaine makes people more vulnerable to addiction in later life. José Miñarro, lead author of the study and coordinator of the Psychobiology of Drug Addiction group at the UV, said that this is the first study to look at the short- and long-term consequences of joint exposure to ecstasy and cocaine in adolescence.

The researchers looked at the joint consumption of different drugs to analyze the effects of the interaction. They gave ecstasy, cocaine, and a saline solution to mice over an eight-day period, and found that adult mice that were given ecstasy or cocaine during adolescence showed an increased vulnerability to relapse compared with mice that weren’t exposed to these drugs.

Miñarro said that adolescence is a critical stage in development, and drug exposure affects cerebral processes in ways that can lead to changes that last through adulthood.

Several surveys have shown that many people use multiple drugs; for example, ecstasy is often consumed along with alcohol, marijuana, and cocaine. In Spain, 44 percent of cocaine users also take ecstasy, and many people started in adolescence. More than 75 percent of high-school students who said they took ecstasy also used cocaine, and 44.3 percent of cocaine users also took ecstasy.

The researchers concluded that their study shows that informing adolescents of the dangers of using these types of drugs is imperative, and that teens should understand the long-lasting consequences of drug use.

Source: Science Daily, Cocaine or Ecstasy Consumption During Adolescence Increases Risk of Addiction, February 5, 2010

Posted on February 5th, 2010

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