Pubdate: Mon, 10 Feb 2003 Source: Associated Press (Wire) Copyright: 2003 Associated Press Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/27 Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/mdma.htm (Ecstasy) TEENS' USAGE OF ECSTASY HAS BEGUN TO LEVEL OFF NEW YORK -(AP)- Although teen use of Ecstasy has leveled off, many American adolescents see no great risk in experimenting with the drug, according to a study by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America. The partnership's annual study of drug use found that 45% of youths ages 12 to 18 saw a great risk in trying Ecstasy once or twice -- more than the 42% who felt that way in last year's survey. The attitude belies the statistics. In 2001, there were 5,542 emergency-room visits related to Ecstasy use, up from 253 in 1994. The number of youths using the drug remained stable: 9% in this survey, compared with 10% a year earlier. A partnership survey released five months ago found that only 1% of American parents believed their child had tried Ecstasy. "Our latest reading of the Ecstasy market offers a more encouraging picture, but does not -- and should not -- suggest that we have turned the corner on this drug," said Steve Pasierb, president and chief executive of the partnership. The survey also found that marijuana remained the most widely used illegal drug among teenagers, with 40% of youths saying they had tried it at some point. The study was conducted among 7,084 youths nationwide, with a margin of error of plus or minus 1.5 percentage point. Data were collected from April through June of 2002 from questionnaires that students filled out anonymously. As for legal drugs, alcohol and cigarette use wasn't as prevalent as it once was. According to the survey, 53% reported alcohol use in the last year, down from a high of 63% in 1997. The percentage of those reporting smoking a cigarette in the past month, fell to 28% from a high of 42% in 1998. The Partnership for a Drug-Free America, launched in 1987, is a coalition of communications professionals aimed at reducing the demand for illegal drugs.