What a great question! On a chemical level, no: ecstasy, cocaine, and similar drugs have not been found to decrease the effectiveness of hormonal birth control. (Some prescription drugs and herbs do, though, so be sure your healthcare providers know what you’re taking.) If you’re taking your pills correctly and all the time, they’re more than 99% likely to prevent an unplanned pregnancy, even if you have recreational drugs in your system.
However, drug use can affect your sexual health choices in other ways. It’s well-documented that those under the influence are more likely to engage in unprotected sex, increasing the risk of STI transmission. Being drunk or high can also negatively affect a person’s communication, decreasing their ability to set boundaries, read a partner’s reactions, and give or withdraw their consent. They may not be able to look out for their friends or themselves. And depending upon when the drug use occurs, it’s possible they’ll forget to take their birth control pill on time after all.
Keep in mind, too, that IV drug users face higher rates of bloodborne STI transmission than the general population. HIV, Syphilis, and Hepatitis B & C are easy to transmit when people share needles. If you are currently an IV drug user, Teen Clinic recommends getting tested for bloodborne infections regularly.
So will using recreational drugs affect your birth control pill’s effectiveness? Not directly. But it’s important to recognize that drug use can negatively affect your sexual health. Want to learn more? Make an appointment to talk to a practitioner at Teen Clinic.