Pubdate: Sun, 01 Dec 2002
Source: Oklahoman, The (OK)
Copyright: 2002 The Oklahoma Publishing Co.
Author: Robert Sharpe

Point Of View


REGARDING "The Agony of Ecstasy" (editorial, Nov. 11): Thank you for 
warning readers about the potentially harmful effects of Ecstasy. Studies 
on long-term effects are inconclusive, but we do know that 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 today's 
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 teenagers 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 now pushing legislation that would penalize dance 
clubs that provide life-saving harm reduction education 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 interest. If Congress is truly concerned about adolescents 
using Ecstasy, it will vote down anti-rave legislation that outlaws the 
dissemination of reality-based drug education at venues where it's needed most.

Sharpe is program officer for the Drug Policy Alliance (www.drug
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