Pubdate: Tue, 06 May 2003
Source: Richmond Times-Dispatch (VA)
Copyright: 2003 Richmond Newspapers Inc.


Editor, Times-Dispatch:

Regarding Commentary columnist Joe Dombroski's column on Ecstasy:

Studies on the long-term effects of ecstasy are inconclusive, but we do 
know that, in rare cases, Ecstasy can be deadly in the short term if users 
are unaware of the risks. With more than one in 10 high school seniors 
trying Ecstasy, it's imperative that teenagers are made aware of these risks.

Many youths don't take "just say no" school-based programs seriously, 
doubting the validity of their information. What's needed is reality-based 
drug education that promotes the ideal of abstinence while providing a 
fallback strategy of honest, science-based education for students who say 
maybe, sometimes, or yes.

The good news is the short-term risks of ecstasy are preventable. The bad 
news is that Congress is pushing dangerous legislation known as the 
"Illicit Drug Non-Proliferation Act" (formerly the RAVE Act) that penalizes 
dance clubs that offer harm-reduction education and water designed to 
prevent Ecstasy-related heatstroke, a potentially life-threatening concern.

Sacrificing more children at the altar of the failed drug war is not in 
America's best interests. While European nations have largely abandoned the 
drug war in favor of harm-reduction alternatives, our so-called leaders are 
seemingly intent on maximizing the harm associated with illicit drug use.

Robert Sharpe
Washington, D.C.
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