Background Research has raised significant concern regarding the affective consequences of synthetic drug use. However, little evidence from well-controlled longitudinal studies exists on these consequences. The aim of this study was to determine whether use of meth/amphetamine (speed) and ±3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, ecstasy) is independently predictive of subsequent depressive symptoms in adolescents.
Methods A sample of 3880 adolescents from secondary schools in disadvantaged areas of Quebec, Canada, were followed over time (2003–2008). Logistic regression was used to test the association between meth/amphetamine and MDMA use in grade 10 (ages 15–16 years) and elevated depressive symptoms on an abridged Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression scale in grade 11, controlling for pre-existing individual and contextual characteristics.
Results After adjustment, both MDMA use (OR 1.7, 95% CI 1.1 to 2.6) and meth/amphetamine use (OR 1.6, 95% CI 1.1 to 2.3) in grade 10 significantly increased the odds of elevated depressive symptoms in grade 11. These relationships did not vary by gender or pre-existing depressive symptoms. Increased risk was particularly observed in concurrent usage (OR 1.9, 95% CI 1.2 to 2.9).
Conclusions Adolescent use of meth/amphetamine and MDMA (particularly concurrent use) is independently associated with subsequent depressive symptoms. Further enquiry must determine whether these associations reflect drug-induced neurotoxicity and whether adolescence is a period of increased vulnerability to the hazards of synthetic drug exposure.
- addictive behaviour/addiction
- adolescents CG
- learning disability
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