Tuesday, September 16, 2003

I have no recreational interest in MDMA. For one thing, it's the psychopharmacological equivalent of a sledgehammer, and when you're stuck with a brain as finicky as mine, the last thing you want to do is dump all your seratonin at once. And that's assuming that what you get when you think you're buying Ecstasy is actually MDMA, which is increasingly unlikely. But.

MDMA has legitimate therapeutic uses which have been made virtually impossible by the combination of fun-craving kids and drug-hating authority figures, in much the same way that all the really effective painkillers have been demonized. And while I'm not interested in taking MDMA myself, the main consequence of the crackdown has been that if you try to buy Ecstasy, you're more likely to get something much worse for you but easier to make and transport. Not to mention that history and psychology have demonstrated pretty effectively that human beings crave intoxication, and that prohibition is not a great strategy for controlling that urge.

Mostly though, I just have a thing for the truth, and there's a lot of bullshit on both sides of the drug war. So, in the interests of truth, you ought to know that last year's study that demonstrated the deadliness of MDMA wasn't actually about MDMA at all, but methamphetamines. Apparently the vendor mislabeled the bottle, and the lab was so happy to have headline-friendly results that they rushed to the media without stopping to wonder why they were getting results so much worse than everyone else who had ever studied MDMA. To their credit, once they caught the error, they retracted the study, but if they'd really been on the ball, they would have caught the error much earlier on. (The link is a salon.com article. If you're not a subscriber, you can still view the article after watching a short commercial.)

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