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Classic amphetamines

Amphetamine dependence and abuse occur at all levels of society, most commonly among 18- to 30-year-olds. Intravenous use is more common among individuals from lower socioeconomic groups, and has a male-to-female ratio of three or four to one. Among non-intravenous users, males and females are relatively equally divided.

An annual study known as the Monitoring the Future Study, or MTF, examines drug use and attitudes related to drugs held by American teenagers. It focuses primarily on teens in the eighth, 10th, and 12th grades, but also on young adults across the country. Recent data on metham-phetamine use showed that in 1997, 4.4% of 12th graders had tried crystal methamphetamine at least once in their lifetime. This represented an increase from 2.7% in 1990. Also in 1997, 2.3% of seniors reported having used crystal methamphetamine at least once during the past year. This represented an increase from 1.3% in 1990.

According to the 2000 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, approximately 8.8 million Americans have tried methamphetamine at some time during their lives. Data from the 2000 Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN), which collects information on drug usage problems from emergency room departments in 21 metropolitan areas found that methamphetamine-related problems increased from 10,400 in 1999 to 13,500 in 2000, an increase of 30%.

Treatment admissions reports by the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) Community Epidemiology Work Group, or CEWG, showed that as of June 2001, metham-phetamine usage continued to be the leading drug of abuse among clients in treatment in the San Diego area and Hawaii. Methamphetamine is the most prevalent illegal drug in San Diego. Both San Francisco and Honolulu also reported substantial methamphetamine use problems during the late 1990s. Increased use was also reported in Denver, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St.Paul, Phoenix, Seattle, and Tucson.

Amphetamines are a group of powerful and highly addictive substances that dramatically affect the central nervous system. Closely related are the so-called "designer amphetamines," the most well-known of which is the "club drug" MDMA, or "ecstasy" (pictured above). Use of MDMA produces increased blood pressure, heart rate, and heart oxygen consumption. MDMA is not processed and removed from the body quickly, and remains active for a long period of time. As a result, toxicity may rise dramatically when users take multiple doses over brief time periods, leading to harmful reactions such as dehydration, hyperthermia, and seizures. (Andrew Brookes/ CORBIS. Photo reproduced by permission.)

Amphetamines are a group of powerful and highly addictive substances that dramatically affect the central nervous system. Closely related are the so-called "designer amphetamines," the most well-known of which is the "club drug" MDMA, or "ecstasy" (pictured above). Use of MDMA produces increased blood pressure, heart rate, and heart oxygen consumption. MDMA is not processed and removed from the body quickly, and remains active for a long period of time. As a result, toxicity may rise dramatically when users take multiple doses over brief time periods, leading to harmful reactions such as dehydration, hyperthermia, and seizures. (Andrew Brookes/ CORBIS. Photo reproduced by permission.)

Designer amphetamines

According to the NIDA, at a time when abuse of most illicit drugs has leveled off or declined slightly among youth in the United States, one drug has greatly increased in popularity: MDMA. It is the only drug for which an increase in use was shown among American 10th and 12th graders between 1999-2000. That year, even younger adolescents at the eighth-grade level showed an increase in use. Other evidence from NIDA shows that MDMA use is also increasing among older Americans who attend dance clubs, or all-night parties called "raves." Increasingly, Americans of diverse ages, social classes, and sexual orientations are using this drug in diverse social settings around the country.

Evidence indicates that in 2001, the rate of increase in teen use of MDMA slowed down. At the time the 2001 survey was conducted, of teens in grade eight, 1.8% reported using MDMA in the last month. Teens in grade 10 reported a 2.6% use, and in grade 12, 2.8% use in the last month. Survey data from 2001 show that an increas-

ï ing number of high school seniors—nearly half— say "g they believe that MDMA poses a great health risk.

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