Pubdate: Tue, 17 Dec 2002
Source: Winnipeg Free Press (CN MB)
Copyright: 2002 Winnipeg Free Press
Author: Brian L. Fish
Bookmark: (Ecstasy)
Bookmark: (Harm Reduction)


As a former teacher now a lawyer with extensive experience in the youth 
court and family area since 1981, I was astonished to read of the reaction 
of Winnipeg's youth court Judge Cathy Everett to the 18-year-old's high 
school student's 24-page essay on ecstasy and harm reduction.

Perhaps as an English teacher, I may have docked the young man marks for 
spelling, punctuation and grammar, but as a social studies teacher, based 
on the extracts I saw in the news items, I would have certainly given him 
good marks for (a) research of the facts, (b) application of logic, (c) 
development of a position, (d) support of the position, (e) a rational 
conclusion. And as a lawyer I would applaud him for his courage and honesty 
in his attempt to debunk the myths and moral panics perpetuated by the drug 
war. I would suggest that if anybody "missed the boat" it was the learned 
judge. I have extensively researched ecstasy, through my own children, and 
from what I could see in the article every fact the young man gave was 

The judge should educate herself by doing the following: Read the book the 
young man cited, Ecstasy, the complete guide.

Visit the Web site Visit the Web site of The 
Canadian Foundation for Drug Policy and follow the links to all the 
articles on ecstasy.

Visit the "Vaults of Erowid" --, where she will find a 
considerable amount of factual information about ecstasy.

I mention Erowid because an RCMP toxicologist recommended it a couple of 
years ago as a factual source to lawyers at a meeting of Canadian Bar 
Association in Edmonton on "club drugs."

Nevertheless, the young man should recognize that trafficking ecstasy at 
school is wrong.

Would we distribute alcohol?

Of course not. But the judge must realize that Borg-like, she can't just 
dictate what the man should think.


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