False Drug Information Harms Kids

False Drug Information Harms Kids
Posted by CN Staff on September 30, 2003 at 09:50:42 PT
By Marsha Rosenbaum, Research Scientist
Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer 
With little fanfare, highly touted researchers from Johns Hopkins University recently made a stunning announcement. Data from their experiments with the now infamous drug Ecstasy, published a year ago in Science, turned out to be fatally flawed.It seems the vials had been mislabeled and the drug administered to -- and that killed 20 percent of -- the study's laboratory monkeys and baboons was not Ecstasy but a completely different substance. 
As a research scientist, having conducted the first federally funded sociological study of Ecstasy users, I am happy about the recent news that one dose of Ecstasy does not, as the widely publicized Science article had claimed, cause irreversible brain damage leading to Parkinson's disease.What bothers me is the turn of events that enabled our government to consistently use faulty research to shape bad drug policy.Ecstasy's story began nearly 30 years ago, when it was first used legally as an adjunct to psychotherapy. Psychiatrists were impressed with its ability to help couples communicate, to enable trauma victims to heal and to soothe chronically ill patients facing death. Ecstasy crossed over into recreational circles in the early '80s and shortly after became illegal. Its use remained relatively quiet until the early-'90s, when it became associated with underground dance parties known as raves.Ecstasy became popular with growing numbers of young people, and at its peak in 2000, nearly 12 percent of high school seniors admitted to using it at least once. As problems, largely associated with look-a-like pills, overheating and dehydration, were reported, the frenzied print and electronic media ran 1,000 fear-producing stories. At this point the Johns Hopkins team had released a study showing massive changes in brain chemistry resulting from the use of Ecstasy. Though now considered methodologically flawed and never replicated, the "brain damage" claim resulted in panic. The federal government couldn't move fast enough, quickly enacting anti-Ecstasy legislation and promoting its $54 million educational campaign to alert young people and their parents to Ecstasy's dangers. While states enacted laws targeting users, federal legislation was initially stalled but subsequently pushed through as a tag-on to the 2003 Amber Alert bill. Marsha Rosenbaum directs the Safety First project of the Drug Policy Alliance in San Francisco -- Snipped: Complete Article: Seattle Post-Intelligencer (WA)Author:  Marsha Rosenbaum, Research ScientistPublished: Tuesday, September 30, 2003Copyright: 2003 Seattle Post-IntelligencerContact: editpage seattle-pi.comWebsite: Articles & Web Sites:Safety First Project Policy Alliance'll Kill You -- Wait, No It Won't Retracted On Ecstasy Study of Ecstasy Drug's Great Risks 
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on September 30, 2003 at 14:00:23 PT
Anti-Drug Group Distances Itself from Ad
Claimed Sitting Bull Smokes MarijuanaSeptember 30, 2003Officials with an influential anti-drug organization say they had nothing to with a phony ad claiming a Native American legend smoked marijuana. The Cleveland Scene, a newspaper self-described as “smart, uncompromising civic journalism”, was at least one newspaper to run a false advertisement in February apparently attempting to poke fun at anti-drug campaigns. The ad was also featured in The Phoenix New Times. A corporation that owns several other newspapers publishes both papers. The ad featured a photograph of Sioux leader Sitting Bull with the following caption: "Sitting Bull smoked marijuana. He lived in a tent with no cable. Then the U.S. government killed him. Harmless? Partnership for a Drug-Free America".Many Teton Sioux consider Sitting Bull to be a holy man and honorable war hero. In addition to possibly offending Native American sensibilities, some legal experts said the ad was illegal.“ They used our name and logo without our permission,” Partnership for a Drug-Free America spokesman Howard Simon told the Native American Times. “ Our lawyers contacted them with a cease and desist order and they told us they had no intention of running the ad again.”Simon says the paper published a letter from the organization, and he hopes that no one in the American Indian community ever thinks they were behind the ad.“ When you deal with people who feel differently than we do about the drug issue, you have to deal with some unsavory activity.”
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Comment #1 posted by kaptinemo on September 30, 2003 at 10:35:44 PT:
The progeny of lies are untrusting,bitter children
from the rest of the article:" 25-year-old daughter, a graduate of the DARE program, remarked when she heard the recent news about Ecstasy, "Now I'm convinced that any information about drugs coming out of the government is automatically suspect."Multiply that epiphany millions of times a day, by those in school, and you see the hopelessness of the many and hardly varied forms of "Just-Say-No!".Lie to the kids, and watch what kind of future they will build for themselves...ONE THOSE WHO LIED TO THEM WILL HAVE TO LIVE IN AND BE DEPENDENT UPON. Think about that, antis. A generation that expects the adults to lie, from the government on down, will have a very small amount of patience for you when age and illness makes you weak and dependent upon the 'angels of their better natures'. Which, thanks to you, may have grown horns and a tail.
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