Making Sense on Drugs 

Making Sense on Drugs 
Posted by FoM on January 04, 2002 at 18:23:37 PT
Leader - But ecstasy reform remains elusive 
Source: Guardian Unlimited
Three changes to the administration of our drugs laws are promised this year. Together, they will help move Britain to a more rational approach. For too long the country has suffered under the most stringent - but the least effective - laws in Europe. Waging wars on drug users only produce wars on our children, as increasing numbers of parents have become aware. Up to half of all children have experimented with drugs before leaving school. All three changes move our laws to a more sensible goal: harm reduction. 
David Blunkett deserves credit for authorising the changes that are in the pipeline: downgrading cannabis from a class B to a class C drug, thus making it a non-arrestable offence; wider use of cannabis for medicinal purposes, once current studies have been completed; and encouraging a return to prescribing heroin, moving the addiction from criminal offence to medical need. There was even more encouraging news this week when the Metropolitan police revealed that a pilot project in Brixton was proving successful. Under the scheme, people caught with small amounts of cannabis are given an on the spot warning, rather than prosecuted or given a formal caution. A warning is a lesser penalty than a caution. It is recorded by the police but does not have to be declared by someone applying for a job. Arresting someone for possessing pot requires five hours of extra work and can cost 500 in court time. The pilot has saved 2,000 hours of police time, allowing police officers to get back on the streets to pursue serious offenders, such as crack cocaine dealers. The aim is to roll out the scheme across London and hopefully beyond the capital, too. But some kinks still need ironing out. Ironically, by formalising what was already happening on an informal basis, bureaucracy has crept in. The Met concede there is still too much paper work. There is one further reform, which David Blunkett is still resisting: downgrading ecstasy, as recommended by the recent Police Foundation national inquiry. Mr Blunkett is probably under orders from Downing Street, but the stance makes no sense. Ecstasy kills fewer people than aspirin. It was given out to the armed services in the war to keep them awake - the same reason why clubbers use it today. Here is a chance for the Commons select committee to demonstrate their powers of persuasion. Their new report must be unequivocal. Source: Guardian Unlimited, The (UK) Published: Saturday, January 5, 2002Copyright: 2002 Guardian Newspapers LimitedContact: letters Articles:Police Extend Pilot Scheme on Cannabis End Cannabis Seizures Articles - U.K.
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Comment #1 posted by CorvallisEric on January 04, 2002 at 19:20:05 PT
Let's get this straight
Ecstasy kills fewer people than aspirin. It was given out to the armed services in the war to keep them awake - the same reason why clubbers use it today.
It was amphetamine, before anyone thought of smoking or snorting the closely related methamphetamine, which was given to soldiers, taken by truck drivers, etc. Journalists frequently confuse the nature of ecstasy, but seldom as badly as they did here.
Ecstasy (MDMA or 3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine) is chemically similar to methamphetamine, a fact which doesn't necessarily mean much. Its affects include similarities to both stimulants like meth and psychedelics like mescaline, as well as unique affects. It is not a mixture of the two. It is not made from meth, etc, etc.For a history of amphetamine use published in 1972, see chapter 36 of:
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