Pubdate: Sun, 24 Aug 2003
Source: Beaufort Gazette, The (SC)
Copyright: 2003 The Beaufort Gazette
Author: Mett Ausley Jr., M.D.


The Gazette's editorial on synthetic drugs (Drug Task Force Steps Up
Activity, Aug. 10) warns of a supposed "wildfire" of amphetamine and ecstasy
abuse approaching from the west without documenting or explaining this
peculiar geographic progression. Granted, drug use varies with locale and
demographics, but common sense dictates that drugs follow the same routes
and timetables as people, not the winds or Earth's rotation.

I suspect these drugs have been here for some time; the imagery of an
impending "epidemic" is little more than the usual overheated propaganda.

As for the conclusion that "the price of drug interdiction has gone up,"
well certainly! When do bureaucrats admit they can get by on less? Contrary
to narcotics officials' alarmism, no clinical studies on real patients
indicate that synthetic drugs cause any form of progressive dementia, much
less threaten to create "a generation of vegetables."

As for mechanisms of brain damage, I'm familiar with concepts like
demyelination and hypoxia, but only a klutzy neurosurgeon "drills holes in
the brain." Excuse me if I find such reports unconvincing and advise others
to regard them with skepticism.

Mett Ausley Jr., M.D.
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