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UAB research study finds that the majority of novel psychedelic drug users are white, college-educated men

Ecstasy tablets on black background

A recent study at The University of Alabama Birmingham found that Novel psychedelics, such as 2C-B, 2C-E and 2C-I, are most commonly used by young, white, college-educated men.

Novel psychedelics bear similarities to classic psychedelics like LSD and MDMA, but are less researched and, therefore, have less predictable effects.

“Novel psychedelics are typically found online in Darknet markets, such as the former Silk Road and other sites,” said James Sexton, lead study author and research assistant in the Department of Health Behavior at the UAB School of Public Health. “Before recent legislation banned some of these substances, many could be found online and purchased by anyone with a debit card.”

The study, which examined data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, found that approximately 273,000 adults between the years 2008 and 2016 reported using novel psychedelics.

“While 273,000 individuals is a small percentage of the United States population, it is still a significant number of people,” Sexton said. “Knowing who uses novel psychedelics and which novel psychedelics are used will help clinicians be prepared to treat complications or overdoses from the drug use.”

White men of college age or who had recently graduated college were the main users of novel psychedelics. They also reported significantly higher drug use than the rest of the general population.

Those who used both classic and novel psychedelic drugs were at a higher risk of suicidal thinking and planning compared to those who had only used classic psychedelic drugs. Sexton is calling for further research to determine the relationship between the two categories of drugs.

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