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Thread: Ecstasy and irrational beliefs about drugs

  1. #1

    Default Ecstasy and irrational beliefs about drugs

    Ecstasy.
    E.
    MDMA.

    A highly illegal drug in the UK as well as in other countries, yet statistically speaking less dangerous than alcohol, cigarettes and horse riding.

    There's recently been a lot news in the UK about a (now former) chairman of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, David Nutt, who was sacked. He's a controversial man because he has been very critical of the government's position on cannabis and ecstasy, arguing with scientific evidence that these drugs are not as dangerous as is made out.

    My questions for you:
    *What are your views on E?
    *How safe do you believe E is?
    *Have you ever had a bad experience with the drug (maybe not you personally)?
    *Do you believe that society misjudges E, and why?

    Don't answers these survey style, they're just for thinking.

    I, perhaps obviously, do think that the public are irrational when it comes to E, and politicians are pressured into having to seem hard on *all* drugs. I think the fact that some drugs less harmful than alcohol are illegal is silly.

    Here's a well known graph based on Nutt's data:



  2. #2
    EmeraldsAndLime

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    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie F View Post
    My questions for you:
    *What are your views on E?
    *How safe do you believe E is?
    *Have you ever had a bad experience with the drug (maybe not you personally)?
    *Do you believe that society misjudges E, and why?
    Well I won't deny that over the years I have done a fair amount of ecstasy, though I don't say that with as much shame as you'd think. Ecstasy is one of those drugs that changes the way you think and challenges your perceived notions about other people and things. However, whether that be for the better or worse is subject to the kind of trip you have.

    As we know, ecstasy is a social drug, and you find yourself opening up more about things that are, for the most part, kept secret about yourself. That lack of inhibition coupled with a heightened sense of "understanding" by both parties often leads to a connection on a really personal level. But in saying that, upon sobering up there is some regret to what you've said (especially if you really can't control yourself on the substance) and a realisation that what was said while you were high was essentially meaningless... because you weren't yourself.

    Though some may argue that on ecstasy you're more yourself than you are otherwise. But I disagree with that. Ecstasy is designed to make you euphoric and generally more open, which I feel undermines any legitimacy to things you say or do while tripping on it. It's an altered state of mind, and for all intents and purposes, you aren't yourself. If anything, the fact MDMA has to be cooked up should be enough proof of this.

    As for the safety aspect of it, that largely relies on the quality of the pills themselves. Personally, I've had some great, clean* pills, and I've had some nasty one's as well. Fact of the matter is, unless you're high up on the dealing chain, then you really don't know where your pills are coming from. They could be mixed with an assortment of any other chemicals or drugs which achieves vastly different highs. I've had some extremely strong, clean pills before, but on the flipside I've had pills laced with the likes of ketamine, 2C-I, 2C-B or so little MDMA content they just fizzled out on me.

    But in saying that, it has a lot to do with people's tolerance for the chemical as well. I've seen people take as many as 5 pills** in one night and they're on the same level as someone who's only taken 2 (of the same pill). Like alcohol, everyone's body has a different response. Only speaking for myself, I suffered a number of anxiety attacks when I wasn't on the substance and often after taking it there would be a period of about 10 minutes where I'd just want to vomit, after which I'd be fine. Though I think it changed my brain chemistry somewhat slightly, so I no longer do the drug anymore (and haven't for over a year).

    So... talking about the "safety of ecstasy" is a subjective matter.

    However, despite all that, I feel those who denounce ecstasy either have 1) Never tried it, or 2) Know very little about it, or a combination of both of those. Ecstasy can be safe, if you moderate yourself, both in how often you take it and how much you take on any given day. Some people don't know their limits and just go overboard with it. They are the ones who end up dehydrated/overhydrated, in convulsions, passed out or waking up in a hospital. I would never stop someone from taking it, but I would caution them and make sure they were doing it within reason.

    The biggest problem with ecstasy is that you never know what you're getting. Although test kits are available, it would make sense for any government to regulate it, so at least people are doing clean pills, as opposed to ones with other nasty chemicals in them. Lets face it, people are always going to produce the drug, and people are always going to buy and consume it - at the very least we could make it safer. What makes the drug dangerous isn't so much the MDMA as it is the impurities manufacturers splice into each pill. There is a lot of extremely nasty shit out there, and people are scum enough to cut it with ecstasy to make a bit of extra profit (less MDMA in each pill = more pills = more profit).

    That's the kind of thing that produces a stigma about ecstasy and realistically the only thing governments base their anti-ecstasy campaigns on. Decriminalising ecstasy would surely see a rise in cleaner pills, more public awareness, a more well-informed public and better resources made available to people who are thinking about taking it or are currently taking it.

    *By "clean" I mean the purity of MDMA versus impurities in any given pill. The less impurities, the cleaner it is. Cleaner pills tend to give you a better high, with a less-abrasive come-down.
    **Worst I've ever seen someone take in one night is 5 pills, 0.3g of speed and then a quite a large amount of pot when they got home.

  3. #3

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    I never tried it myself, but I did work at a rave in San Fransisco as a vendor (pacifers, flashing LED lights, ear plugs and legal drugs like aspirin all at 1000% markup. you can REALLY make a fucking killing on it.)

    that said only people who are high would pay 35 bucks for a pacifier that's as solid as a freaking rock. The people who I sold to seemed rather normal then you know, paying 35 bucks for pacifiers, and 5 dollars for 50 cent ear plugs. So yeah, they were high and rather normal.

  4. #4

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    E was before my time, as I was a complete pot head in college...haha. All I know about E is from the news which is not pretty. One big problem is dehydration, and that has killed a number of users. I did see a documentary where this father was doing E with his 14 year old son. He had the boys shirt off and was rubbing his stomach over and over again. Quite frankly, it was very erotic and very disturbing since it was a father/son thing. I guess that's what Lukie's talking about about lowered inhibitions

    After that, I have no personal experiences, so I hesitate to condemn it.

  5. #5
    Asher

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lukie View Post

    However, despite all that, I feel those who denounce ecstasy either have 1) Never tried it, or 2) Know very little about it, or a combination of both of those. Ecstasy can be safe, if you moderate yourself, both in how often you take it and how much you take on any given day. Some people don't know their limits and just go overboard with it. They are the ones who end up dehydrated/overhydrated, in convulsions, passed out or waking up in a hospital. I would never stop someone from taking it, but I would caution them and make sure they were doing it within reason.

    The biggest problem with ecstasy is that you never know what you're getting...
    QFT. If you're safe about it, then you'll be fine. In moderation, ecstasy has actually been shown to have some positive benefits. Before ecstasy was even associated with the dance/rave culture, it was often used in psychotherapy and in some clinical studies. As Lukie said, if moderated, ecstasy (or MDMA) can be safe, and actually has some benefits (especially in regards to helping anxiety disorders).



    Quote Originally Posted by An Analysis of MDMA-Induced Neurotoxicity by Kobie Whetstone


    3,4-Methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine (MDMA; "Ecstasy" ("E", "X", "XTC"), "Adam", "Empathy", "Molly", etc) is a psychoactive drug of widespread recreational use and scientific as well as clinical interest. Its effects have been described as a cross between a stimulant and a mild psychedelic. Unlike the other drugs of these two respective classes, however, MDMA is particularly intriguing for its unique entactogenic properties, of which include the following:

    * A strong sense of inner peace and self-acceptance.
    * Diminished aggression, hostility, and jealousy.
    * Diminished fear, anxiety, and insecurity.
    * Extreme mood-lift with accompanying euphoria.
    * Feelings of empathy, compassion, and forgiveness towards others.
    * Feelings of intimacy and even love for others.
    * Feelings of insightfulness and mental clarity.
    * Improved self-confidence without the incidence of arrogance.
    * The ability to discuss normally anxiety-provoking topics with marked ease.

    Here's the link:An Analysis of MDMA-Induced Neurotoxicity
    Right now, a couple of organizations/universities are actually testing to see if MDMA will help with disorders like post-traumatic stress disorder, etc. We'll see how that turns out over the long run...

    Even with some of the benefits, ecstasy still has its negatives too; if not moderated or taken in safe amounts, ecstasy can completely affect your mood and your seratonin/dopamine levels as well.



    Quote Originally Posted by Does MDMA Cause Brain Damage? - Baggott and Mendelson, MD

    Consistent reports link repeated ecstasy use to depressed mood (Cohen 1995; Curran, 1997; Davison, 1997; Gamma, 2000; Gerra, 2000;1998; Morgan, 1999; Parrott 2000; 1998; Solowij, 1992). Because dysphoric mood is a known residual effect of other psychostimulant drugs (Coffey, 2000), it is likely that ecstasy use plays a causal role in this phenomenon. In a survey of 158 polydrug users, Williamson (1997) found that similar numbers of users reported depression, anxiety, and related adverse effects after cocaine as compared to MDMA. Thus, in some ways, MDMA is very similar to other psychostimulants.

    Here's the link: http://www.erowid.org/chemicals/mdma...l#introduction
    It is interesting to note that in some clinical studies, ecstasy has been used to treat anxiety, while, if not taken safely, it has been shown to cause or increase anxiety.

    Main point to all this: be careful whenever you're taking any drugs and know that it has its pros and cons to taking it. After all, nothing in life is just black and white; it's pretty gray.

    As for personal experience... I don't like to admit it, but I have tried it once while in New Orleans. Unfortunately, I had a bad pill, and I ended up getting a high fever and some nausea. I might try it again in the future, but to be completely honest, I would say it wasn't really my thing anyway. You can still have a blast at a rave/dance/party without ecstasy after all.
    Last edited by Asher; 06-Nov-2009 at 05:47.

  6. #6

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    I've taken ecstasy twice. It made each evening more interesting than it would otherwise have been but I can't say it affected me as much as I thought it might. It just gave me a lot of energy and put me in an amiable mood as opposed to some of the more physical and visceral reactions you might hear about. Personally speaking then, I had a very safe, enjoyable but largely unremarkable experience with the drug and I've had much worse nights with things classified less harshly.

    Of course there are risks and no drugs - legal or illegal - are without potential dangers and ill effects. Often these risks can be reduced or removed with sensible management and the company of trustworthy friends, often they are dependent on the individual in question and how they react to the drug, and often they are associated not just with the drug itself but how it is prepared and taken. By pretty much any measure though, and speaking relatively, E can be called a safe drug and Nutt's views are backed-up by years of scientific research. Alcohol and nicotine do pose a greater risk and are more likely to lead to death. Ecstasy being a class A drug - alongside the likes of Heroin and Meth - is absurd as it shares neither the risk factor nor long-term implications of such substances and is not physically addictive.

    That, however, is not a politically expedient view. 'Drugs' tend to be thought of as one and little distinction seems to be made by many between the heroin addict and the occasional E-taking raver. Indeed, it almost seems that there is a view that the former cannot exist and that when one takes drugs it is inevitably the beginning of an inexorable path towards depravity and dependence. The truth is that there are a great many casual drug users who indulge rarely and suffer essentially nothing for so doing. I don't favour prohibition as a matter of course and I think governments criminalising drugs like ecstasy and cannabis is positively immoral because it funds crime and increases risk to the user by ensuring the dubiousness of those who prepare drugs.

    So, is opinion often irrational and misjudged? I'd say so. I expect it's based on fear and it's understandable given the language with which drugs are discussed in the public arena. The truth is that ecstasy can kill you but it is hugely unlikely that it will and the risk is extraordinary exaggerated and completely out of proportion with it's classification and policing. Unfortunately, given prevailing public opinion and the strength of the tabloids, there is little benefit for a government to take what would be perceived as a weak stance on drugs and acknowledge that, so I would also say, oddly enough, that the government's position is actually quite rational.

  7. #7

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    I don't care what people do to themselves except as far as it affects public safety. More specifically, my public safety. I run and bike thousands of miles a year. Over the last decade, I put more miles on my feet and bicycles than I have on my car. Operation of motor vehicles by altered or oblivious individuals will likely be my ultimate cause of death. If you have a minor collision with another car, its "I'm sorry, call my insurance company". For me, even a minor collision with 2 tons of metal and plastic means a trip to the hospital or the morgue.

    Driving while impaired is illegal everywhere. Alcohol is obviously the biggest problem, but enforcement is relatively simple as blood alcohol testing is easy and well understood. Testing for psychoactive drugs is less so. I'm OK with making just about everything legal, provided a positive test anytime, anywhere disqualifies you from motor vehicle operation, preferrably forever.

  8. #8

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    The problem with classification of drugs goes back a century or so, and most of it is driven by taxation.

    It is interesting that the two biggest killers in terms of drugs are the two that are legal and highly taxed. Cannabis in particular has been a target because it is grown easily and hard to tax, and yet deaths from Cannabis are extremely low.

    In the case of Cannabis there has been a century's worth of utter lies that has become accepted as fact. It's irrational especially when presented with overwhelming evidence. One only has to visit the A&E (ER in America) on any night to see just what the dangerous drug really is, and it is not Cannabis, Ecstasy or LSD.

    I'm irritated by the Nutt affair. Regardless of beliefs on the morality of drugs, it is utterly wrong to appoint scientific advisers who are asked to produced reports and come up with advice based on pure facts and then to fire them because it doesn't fit in with your policy. This has devalued the scientific community because the government only wants to hear what is best suited for them.

    I'm also annoyed that this whole affair has been used as a way of ensuring Cannabis is kept at a class B category in the UK (one class down from the hardest drugs), by concentrating the media on the Ecstasy and LSD side, sweeping Cannabis up with it. This ensures the Daily Mail brigade will feel a moral outrage as middle England sees Ecstasy and LSD as hard drugs. It's their like that called for Nutt's sacking and this pathetic government went with public pressure and fired him.




    Quote Originally Posted by Asher View Post
    It is interesting to note that in some clinical studies, ecstasy has been used to treat anxiety, while, if not taken safely, it has been shown to cause or increase anxiety.
    A lot of legal drugs used to treat anxiety can actually increase anxiety as a side effect. Though doesn't help that antidepressants are often prescribed to treat anxiety where no depression is present.

  9. #9
    Butterfly Mage

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    As a law enforcement professional, I can tell you with assurity that the prolonged use of many of the illegal drugs will absolutely destroy your life.

    I've supervised defendants with irreprable organic brain damage from using extasy. the symptoms of the brain damage mimic severe clinical depression.

  10. #10

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    The problem about drug laws and attitudes towards drugs is that neither 'side' is being honest. The anti-drug advocates come up with ridiculous claims about the negative effects of drugs (like how Brown insisted that skunk weed is lethal... lol), whilst the pro-drugs people have a habit of denying negative effects altogether, or trumping up claims of health benefits. The painfully obvious dishonesty from the government is particularly worrying, however, since it means that any legitimate information about drugs they might provide is ignored as well.

    Of course, I'm totally in favour of legalising all drugs short of coke and heroin. Many of the risks talked about-- specifically impurities and adulteration-- could be eliminated legalisation and regulation. What's more, drugs are really, really fucking fun.
    Last edited by Verscha; 07-Nov-2009 at 17:16.

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