Home / Raves, Clubs, and Ecstasy: The Impact of Peer Pressure

Raves, Clubs, and Ecstasy: The Impact of Peer Pressure

MDMA (3,4 Methylenedioxymethamphetamine), commonly known as ecstasy, is a synthetic psychoactive drug, which in recent years has gained popularity among young adults who frequent raves and nightclubs. In fact, the Drug Enforcement Administration reported a 500% increase in the use of ecstasy between 1993 and 1998. In this study, a system of four nonlinear differential equations is used to model the peer-driven dynamics of ecstasy use. It is found that two backwards bifurcations describe situations when sufficient peer pressure can cause an epidemic of ecstasy use despite conditions predicting the opposite trend. Furthermore, factors, which have the greatest influence on ecstasy use, as predicted by the model, are highlighted. The impact of education is also explored, and the results of simulations using parameter values, are shown to illustrate some of the possible outcomes.

Article Number:


Melissa Castillo-Garsow, Ithaca High School
Leilani Henson, Howard University
Marcin Mejran, Stuyvesant High School
Karen R. Rios-Soto, University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez
Project supervisor: Baojun Song, Cornell University