Thursday, 26 February 2009

Ecstasy vs Peanuts

Finally, some sense being talked over the issue! Not that it will ever reach the rarefied stratosphere of our dear leaders, but there we go...

Sourced from

Here's a question for you:

Imagine you are seated at a table with two bowls in front of you. One contains peanuts, the other tablets of the illegal recreational drug MDMA (ecstasy). A stranger joins you, and you have to decide whether to give them a peanut or a pill. Which is safest?
So asks the New Scientist in its latest editorial. I think you know the answer, don't you?
You should give them ecstasy, of course. A much larger percentage of people suffer a fatal acute reaction to peanuts than to MDMA.
Now it's true that some research suggests there may be some ill-effects* associated with ecstasy use; but it's also the case that even these effects are, so far, so marginal as to have, in general terms, no meaningful impact upon users' ability to remain functional members of society. As the New Scientist argues in an article accompanying its excellent leader:
Enough time has finally elapsed to start asking if ecstasy damages health in the long term. According to the biggest review ever undertaken, it causes slight memory difficulties and mild depression, but these rarely translate into problems in the real world. While smaller studies show that some individuals have bigger problems, including weakened immunity and larger memory deficits, so far, for most people, ecstasy seems to be nowhere near as harmful over time as you may have been led to believe.
Common sense tells us this must be true: after all it is estimated that half a million people in Britain take ecstasy every year. Shockingly, they continue to lead normal lives. Who knew?

*Of course even if the adverse consequences of taking ecstasy (something I've never done myself, incidentally) were much more apparent there would still be little reason to prohibit people from taking an informed choice as to whether or not they wanted to use the durg.