Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Prospective associations between meth/amphetamine (speed) and MDMA (ecstasy) use and depressive symptoms in secondary school students


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.

  • MDMA
  • methamphetamine
  • depression
  • adolescence
  • longitudinal
  • addictive behaviour/addiction
  • adolescents CG
  • depression
  • education
  • learning disability
  • psychology

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.