Perceived Risk Associated with MDMA (Ecstasy/Molly) Use among African Americans: What Prevention and Treatment Providers Should Know

Khary K. Rigg, Maayan Lawental

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The research literature on MDMA (ecstasy/molly) use has largely relied on samples of ravers/club-goers, gay men, and international populations (e.g., United Kingdom, Australia). As a result, very little is known about MDMA use among African Americans. This study aimed to address this gap by adding to the limited amount of research with this population. The goal of this study was to identify and characterize the perceived risks that African Americans associate with using MDMA. Surveys (n = 100) and in-depth interviews (n = 15) were conducted with African American young adults in Southwest Florida between August 2014 and November 2015. Almost the entire sample (91%) associated risks with their MDMA use. The most prevalent types of perceived risks associated with MDMA use were physical harm (e.g., dehydration, fatal overdose, and cardiac damage). Qualitative interview data are also presented to better contextualize these perceived risks. These data provide insight into the risks most salient on the minds of African Americans, and can be used to begin developing and tailoring interventions that target MDMA use among this population. While more research is needed on this topic, these results represent a step forward in our understanding of MDMA use among African Americans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1076-1083
Number of pages8
JournalSubstance Use and Misuse
Issue number7
StatePublished - 7 Jun 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • MDMA
  • ecstasy/molly
  • harm reduction
  • perceived risk
  • prevention/treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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