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Survey: Parents underestimate Ecstasy use


NEW YORK (CNN) -- A survey released Monday found a major gap between the number of teenagers who admit having used the psychoactive drug Ecstasy and the number of parents who think their kids have tried it.

Only 1 percent of the more than 1,200 parents surveyed nationwide by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America said they believe their children may have tried the club drug Ecstasy.

By contrast, the February study found that 12 percent of teens said they had tried the drug.

The survey of parents also found that 92 percent said they had heard of Ecstasy, but 49 percent did not know what effect the drug has on users.

And 41 percent felt it is difficult for children to obtain; only 26 percent of the kids interviewed agreed with that sentiment.

The drug has been largely perceived as harmless by teens, a mistake once made with cocaine, said Stephen Pasierb, the partnership's president and CEO.

"We're at the front end on Ecstasy," Pasierb told a news conference. "We've got the example of cocaine. And if parents take this information, if kids think about this drug differently, we can avert a problem five years, 10 years, 20 years down the road."

The partnership also released a new series of public service announcements to inform people about the harmful effects of Ecstasy, known scientifically as 3,4 methylenedioxymethamphetamine, or MDMA.

The Partnership for a Drug-Free America is a broad coalition of media companies dedicated to helping kids reject substance abuse.

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