Pubdate: Thu, 23 Aug 2001
Source: Honolulu Advertiser (HI)
Copyright: 2001 The Honolulu Advertiser, a division of Gannett Co. Inc.
Author: Donald M. Topping
Bookmark: (Ecstasy)


The two recent articles on ecstasy in The Advertiser ("Military steps 
up war on Ecstasy," July 30; "Isle military sees first death tied to 
Ecstasy," Aug. 1) add to the growing hysteria about the latest "drug 
menace," but contribute nothing to the real problem.

Uncritical reporting of exaggerated claims, such as those made by Ken 
Burtness, education coordinator for the Army's 25th Division 
substance abuse programs, only adds to the confusion and fear 
generated by the war on drugs, and does nothing to protect our youth 
from drug-related harm. In fact, it does the opposite.

Anyone with basic knowledge of Ecstasy knows that the drug, in its 
unadulterated form, does not cause violent behavior, is not a "big 
time stimulant" and does not cause "semipermanent memory loss," as 
claimed by Burtness. Such symptoms may result from ingestion of one 
of the many fake Ecstasy pills found in the illegal market, or from 
mixing Ecstasy with other drugs, especially alcohol. Therein lies the 
real danger.

Increased enforcement efforts are unlikely to reduce the harms 
stemming from the use of Ecstasy. An education program based on 
honest information would be much more effective in preventing 
drug-related harm. The national organization DanceSafe 
( is a good place to start.

Donald M. Topping President, Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii
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