The state of drug prohibition in Australia is fairly steadfast – when the scourge of ice tends to dominate the national conversation on illicit drugs in Australia, making progress on low-harm, low-risk drugs can easily get stamped out.
So the push to legalise ecstasy in Australia rarely comes up – when even the (arguably) more-accepted cannabis struggles to catch a break, talk on legalising ecstasy gets kicked squarely into the bin. No matter how deeply research shows ecstasy to be vastly less harmful than legal substances, the national push is fairly weak.
Today, The Age reports that a Melbourne pharmacist and prominent Professor are leading the way with a call to legalise ecstasy as an over-the-counter drug in Australia, claiming that botched pill batches used illegally pose illogically high levels of harm to users – a factor that would easily be minimised through ecstasy’s legalisation.
Pharmacist Joshua Donelly cites a 2010 study from the UK in his article for the Journal Of Law and Medicine, where ecstasy is ranked far below alcohol, tobacco and cannabis in a list of “harmful” substances. According to The Age, Donelly describes the risks of ecstasy as “negligible”.
Professor David Pennington argues that failing to legalise MDMA is far more harmful to users than legalising it would.
“Australians are one of the highest consumers of MDMA in the world, yet we resolutely resist exploring the fact that most of the uncommon ill consequences of its use arise from impurities in illicitly manufactured drug and the ‘illicit’, uncontrolled circumstances of its use.”
By way of a [ballpark] comparison between the fatal harms between MDMA and alcohol in Australia, a report published by the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre reported 23 deaths related to MDMA in the 2006-2008 period; in a study released last year, 15 Australians were reported to have died per day due to alcohol-related causes.
Last year, following the tragic death of 19-year-old Sydney woman Georgina Bartter, who suffered an adverse reaction to ecstasy pills supplied by her best friend, MDMA use among young people reportedly reached up to one in four.
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Via The Age.