DrugSense Weekly April 28, 2000 #147

DrugSense Weekly April 28, 2000 #147
Posted by FoM on April 28, 2000 at 12:09:59 PT
Reaction to 60 Minutes II Hit Piece on Ecstasy 
Source: DrugSense
The 60 Minutes II show producers need to be told that their unbalanced presentation of the harms of MDMA and their total ignoring of its therapeutic potential is poor journalism. Their hysterical exaggeration of the dangers of MDMA (it is supposedly likely to produce a generation of depressed people) is counterproductive in terms of reducing excessive use of MDMA abuse since the message will be discounted as unbelievable.
The supposed 40 deaths in Florida due to MDMA was taken as a fact yet the evidence supporting these claims has never been made public so that it could be critically reviewed. The show failed to explain that the statistic of 1100 emergency room visits due to MDMA is from the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) system, which links visits to specific drugs even if the drugs did not cause the visit. All that is needed is for the person who went to the ER or any of their friends to have claimed the person consumed MDMA. Blood tests confirming the mentioned drug are not required so ER visits could due to fake MDMA are lumped together with visit related to genuine MDMA. When the 60 Minutes II producers called MAPS to gather information for their show, my initial impression was positive. I was told they wanted to look at all aspects of MDMA, therapeutic use as well as rave use, and they wanted to do a balanced treatment of the neurotoxicity issue. I started to get a bad feeling when it became clear that none of the people I recommended who could talk about therapeutic use were contacted, nor were any experts who would offer a less than hysterical presentation about neurotoxicity. The program should at least have given a moment of air time to a doctor or researcher who doesn't believe the evidence supports an alarmist conclusion about neurotoxicity, as well as someone who could speak to its therapeutic potential. The 60 Minutes producers should be held accountable for a presentation that was put together without even an attempt at basic journalistic balance.By Rick Doblin, Executive Director, Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) NOTE: DrugSense Released a Focus Alert to draw attention to theinaccuracies in the 60 Minutes II Piece on April 27, 2000 Another ViewBy Emanuel SfariosExecutive Director DanceSafe Here are my initial, quick thoughts on the 60 Minutes episode... It was GREAT! Now don't get me wrong. It was a ridiculous, overly-alarmist and totally sensationalistic hit piece on ecstasy, but this is what made DanceSafe and harm reduction look so reasonable. The undercover Orlando police officer,Mike Stevens, came across as over-zealous and ideological, whereas we came across as pragmatic and reasonable. You could hear the emotion in his voice as he spoke ("E is no different from crack or heroin."), whereas we I sounded calm and collected (and other people have agreed with me here). Those of you who mentioned the editing and positioning of DanceSafe at the very end of the segment are completely correct. They did this to accentuate the supposed absurdity of harm reduction in the face of "the most dangerous drug in existence." However, don't assume that the average TV viewer is so naive that they can't see through this. They made the segment so outrageously sensationalistic that the final two minutes showing DanceSafe came across as a stark contrast--and most people are going to see it as a breath of fresh air. Middle America is getting fed up with the Drug War. They are looking for an alternative. We should consider this 60 Minutes segment a huge victory for harm reduction! If we hadn't interviewed with them, they would have run the same show, just without us at the end, and harm reduction would not even have been mentioned. Also, go to the 60 Minutes website, and read the text pertaining to us. It makes us sound very reasonable. For those who haven't seen it yet, I have already posted a special web page for the mass of TV viewers who are now flooding to our site. Check it out.It's the "60 Minutes page" and has pictures of me and the anchor person, as well as the producer of the show. NOTE: The article on the 60 Minutes II web page can be viewed at:,1597,188049-412,00.shtml Click the link to read all of DrugSense Weekly Update News:DrugSense Weekly April 28, 2000 #147 FOCUS Alert # 170 April 27, 2000 Spreads - CBS News Articles & Archives Of DrugSense & MapInc. News Items:
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on April 28, 2000 at 13:21:24 PT
Should Marijuana Be Legalized? E-Poll - 4/28/2000
Should Marijuana Be Legalized? Yes, after all, prohibition didnít work either. Only for medicinal purposes. No--donít give up the fight against drugs.
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