Shewan D, Dalgarno P, Reith G (2000) Perceived risk and risk reduction among ecstasy users; the role of drug, set and setting. International Journal of Drug Policy, 10: 43-453.
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42 (24 men, 18 women, mostly employed) ecstasy users residing in the Glasgow (Scotland, UK) area and recruited via snowball sampling methods participated in focus groups that discussed the negative and positive effects of ecstasy. Groups consisted of 4 to 7 individuals and a moderator. Data was collected in 1996. Overall, participants used 1.3 tablets per use, and reported a frequency of use of 2.9 times per month. All participants were polydrug users and 40/42 reported mixing ecstasy with other drugs, most frequently alcohol and cannabis. Participants recognized negative effects relating to drug contents (assumed to be MDMA versus other substances, as ketamine), set (feeling good versus feeling apprehensive or depressed before use) and setting. Most participants attempted to manipulate set through purchasing from friends or dealers they perceived as trustworthy, and most tried to regulate setting through preparing for a night out and making sure that companions and location were appropriate. Some disagreement centered around the appropriate set for ecstasy use, with most claiming only to use it when they felt good, but others claiming to use it as a means of changing mood. No steps were taken to reduce potential long-term risks of ecstasy use, but some steps were taken to reduce unpleasant side effects and bad experiences. The authors reported on consensus and minority views within focus groups, but failed to provide any quantitative data concerning the number of participants supporting each of the various views provided within this research paper.