Ecstasy

Editorial: What a pill

Would regulating ecstasy really keep our children safe from street level MDMA?

The province’s highest voice on all things medical, Dr. Perry Kendall, made a pretty bold statement earlier this week when he claimed that MDMA should be legalized in order to be regulated.

MDMA, as in ecstasy. MDMA as in the drug that claimed the lives of numerous young people over the last year in this very health region.

But we have to wonder what the point would be in regulating MDMA at all. This isn’t a pain killer. It doesn’t have positive qualities that make it useful in pharmacology, health care or even psychiatry. Does it?

The obvious problem is that street level ecstasy can’t be trusted. When it’s cooked up in a clandestine, unregulated lab, the chemicals can vary from tab to tab, batch to batch.

We’ve seen, and reported on, the dangers of the drug in the past. It’s no secret that it is the gangs who thrive on the sale of illegal drugs. But don’t forget that regulated, legal drugs created with a therapeutic intent are stolen and re-sold every single day. Drugs like Ritalin, Xanax, and of course, oxycodone are consistently sold on the black market, the latter commanding up to $35 a pill.

Ecstasy is a popular rave drug, making it a ‘hit’ with party-going teens. So what would regulating the drug do? Could a teen walk into a drugstore and buy ecstasy before heading out to party, in Kendall’s theory of regulation? Probably not.

But adults would, one would assume. And kids would still get their hands on it, somehow.

One could argue that the same has been true for alcohol for decades.

But hey, nothing bad ever came from a teenaged drinking binge, right?

Wrong.

Vital Stats reports that total deaths directly related to alcohol in Canada in 2000 was well over 300. That includes over intoxication, alcohol poisoning, and numerous diseases directly linked to alcoholism, such as alcoholic liver disease and chronic pancreatitis.

When you factor in the deaths indirectly related to alcohol, that number jumps to 1,689.

That doesn’t even include alcohol related car accidents.

We’re not pushing a return to prohibition — that certainly didn’t work. But it’s laughable to suggest that regulating a drug will make the world a safer place for our children.

After all, look in the right places and you can still find moonshine.

-Agassiz Harrison Observer

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