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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 147

Date:- 10 April 2004

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DR. PHILIP Murphy and colleagues at Edge Hill College of Higher Education and Liverpool John Moores University have found that ecstasy users are generally aware of the health risks that they expose themselves to but seem to reject this knowledge in favour of the benefits they experience from taking the drug.

This is the finding of one of three ecstasy research studies presented today, Saturday 17 April 2004, at the British Psychological Society's annual Conference at Imperial College, London.

The research team of Dr Philip Murphy questioned 328 ecstasy users about the effects of the drug on personal and social functioning. When the results were analysed, longer-term users tended to rate the drug effects less positively than those who were still relatively new to the drug. Nevertheless, the majority of longer-term users still felt sufficiently positive about the drug effects to continue using it.

The researchers suggest that individuals tend to 'weigh-up' the pros and cons of using the drug and that an increased understanding of this weighing-up process will have implications for health education and intervention. Dr Murphy said:- "It is likely that some ecstasy users come to prefer the person they are and the world they experience, under the influence of the drug. This may be seen as a form of psychological dependence on ecstasy, even though they are not physically addicted to it."

In another study to be presented today, researchers Catherine Montgomery, John Fisk and Russell Newcombe of Liverpool John Moores University examine the cognitive effects of ecstasy. Ecstasy users were compared with non-users on a test requiring them to write down words beginning with a particular letter or belonging to a particular category. Ecstasy users attained lower scores on all measures, supporting evidence that ecstasy use is associated with cognitive impairment.

Finally, a group of researchers headed by Lynn Taurah and Dr Chris Chandler of London Metropolitan University, looked at the sleep patterns of past and present ecstasy users and compared them with users of alcohol, nicotine, cannabis, and amphetamine. The researchers found that ecstasy users reported greater sleep disturbance than other drug users. No difference was found between current and past ecstasy users, suggesting that the sleep disturbance can be long lasting.

Don't miss the boat!
MERSEYSIDE'S amateur photographers are being invited to adopt a fresh focus in one of the UK's most prestigious competitions.

A new theme 'Faith in One City' has been added to the Mersey River Festival Photographic Competition to celebrate the city's new status as European Capital of Culture 2008.

Faith in One City - the second of eight themed years in the build-up to 2008 and beyond - will celebrate the city's diverse religious communities, individual and personal beliefs and confidence in the city and its future through a programme of projects such as a plan to get the whole city to proclaim their faith through a mass song.

The River Festival photograph competition, which showcases the work of UK amateur photographers, invites entries in three key themes:-

1. Main section - 'Merseyside:- People, Places and Events'
2. Special section - 'Messing About on Water,' sponsored by Mersey basin Campaign (Photos can be taken anywhere in the British Isles)
3. New Theme - 'Faith in One City,' sponsored by Calumet (photos must be taken in Liverpool)

Mersey River Festival organisers, Liverpool City Council, believe the 2008 Culture award will aspire up-and-coming talent to capture Liverpool in a new and exciting light.

Councillor Warren Bradley, Executive Member for Leisure and Culture, said:- " Liverpool has an abundance of beautiful and fascinating places of worship, which is an obvious interpretation of the theme, but faith can also mean having confidence in something. Photographers shouldn't have to look too far in Liverpool to find evidence of this new-found confidence."

The photographic Competition is a key feature of the annual Mersey River Festival (june 18-21) which last year attracted a record number of vessels and 300,000 visitors. Winning photographs and a selection of entries will be exhibited in the Royal Liver Building from June 19 until July 9. the winners will also receive prizes worth hundreds of pounds and their images used in Liverpool City Council, Mersey River Festival and Mersey Basin Campaign publications.

Information and entry forms for the Mersey River Festival Photographic Competition are available from Healthstart on 0151 707 2566. Email:-  the deadline for entries is May 7.

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