Pubdate: Tue, 04 Dec 2001
Source: Calgary Herald (CN AB)
Copyright: 2001 Calgary Herald
Author: Taco van Ieperen
Bookmark: (Ecstasy)


Re: "Soaring ecstasy use alarms police," Dec. 2.

There is mounting medical evidence that chronic ecstasy use can have
long-term effects on the areas of the brain responsible for short-term
memory. However, these risks pale in comparison with the much greater
dangers posed to ecstasy users by the drug's illegality.

What sort of terrible harm do ecstasy users do that justifies the extreme
persecution they face? We are willing to lock some of them in prison and
saddle them with criminal records. Some we kill by making it easier for some
dealers to sell other, more dangerous substances.

The fact is ecstasy, at least in the short term, is a reasonably safe
substance compared to something like alcohol. The vast majority of
ecstasy-related deaths and hospitalizations are due to other drugs which are
sold as ecstasy or taken in combination with it.

The decision to take ecstasy is no more the business of the state than the
decision to drink alcohol or to smoke tobacco. Alcohol prohibition showed us
that the downside of criminalizing a substance which millions of people want
clearly outweighs any possible benefits. Ecstasy should be regulated like
alcohol and tobacco and kept out of the hands of minors. Our current
policies are absurd. We have created an entire generation of criminals out
of nothing in the name of protecting them from themselves.

Taco van Ieperen

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