Teenagers who used speed or ecstasy at 15 or 16 were significantly more likely to suffer elevated depressive symptoms the following year.
This was the finding of a five-year study conducted with thousands of teenagers by University of Montreal researchers. “Our results reveal that recreational MDMA and meth/amphetamine use places typically developing secondary school students at greater risk of experiencing depressive symptoms,” said study co-author Frédéric N. Brière of the School Environment Research Group at the University of Montreal.
The researchers worked with data provided by 3,880 students enrolled at schools in disadvantaged areas of Quebec. The participants were asked a series of questions that covered their drug use – what they had used in the past year or ever in their life – and their home life. Depressive symptoms were established by using a standard epidemiological evaluation tool. The results included:
- 310 respondents reported using MDMA (8%) and 451 used meth/amphetamines (11.6%)
- 584 of all respondents were identified as having elevated depressive symptoms (15.1%)
- Students in Year 10 who used ecstasy and speed were respectively 1.7 and 1.6 times more likely to be depressed by the time they reached Year 11.
“Our study has important public health implications for adolescent populations,” said Jean-Sébastien Fallu, a professor at the University of Montreal and study co-author. “Our results reinforce the body of evidence in this field and suggest that adolescents should be informed of the potential risks associated with MDMA and meth/amphetamine use.”