Exploring the Relationship Between Race and Ecstasy Involvement Among a Sample of Arrestees

Blake J. Urbach, University of Central Florida
George Yacoubian, Jr., McFarland and Associates, Inc.
K. Michael Reynolds, University of Central Florida

ABSTRACT
Previous research has indicated that whites are disproportionately involved in the use of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA or "ecstasy"). To date, however, no studies have explored the relationship between race and ecstasy possession and sale among adult criminal populations. To address this limitation, official arrest data were utilized from a sample of 1,216 arrestees charged with drug offenses between 1995 and 1999 in Orange County, Florida. Arrestees were divided into those whose primary charge was related to ecstasy possession (n=331), those whose primary offense was related to ecstasy sale (n=180), and those whose primary charge was unrelated to ecstasy (n=705). Chi-square statistics and logistic regression were utilized to examine the relationships between race and the possession and sale of ecstasy. Arrestees charged with ecstasy possession and sale were significantly more likely to be white than their non-ecstasy-charged counterparts (95% and 93% v. 46%, p<0.001). Moreover, white arrestees were more than 20 times as likely to be arrested for an MDMA-related offense than non-white arrestees, holding all other variables constant. Policy implications are assessed in light of the current findings.

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Updated 05/20/2006