2003 Part 1

December 11, 2003. The Agony of Ecstasy. LA CityBEAT by Dennis Romero. Discusses the decline of rave culture but the only models of use presented are to burn out or to leave. There’s no discussion of anyone who has a sustainable relationship with MDMA that incorporates responsible use over time. It’s a rather bleak portrait.

December 10, 2003. A Bad Batch, by Rebecca Alvania. Baltimore City Paper (Issue #50,12/10-12/16). This is yet another long, powerful article about the flawed MDMA neurotoxicity research of Drs. Ricaurte and McCann. The article is sprinkled with excellent quotes from Rick Doblin and Dr. Charles Grob.

December 5, 2003. Newsweek Online publishes an interview with psychiatrist Julie Holland on the psychotherapeutic use of MDMA.:

Science Gets Recruited in the Drug War, by Ronald Bailey. Reason Magazine Online.

December 2, 2003. Research on Ecstasy Is Clouded by ErrorsThe New York Times, by Donald G. McNeil Jr.

Rick Doblin, President of MAPS, published these comments on the NYT article.

The Drug Policy Alliance have issued this related press release today.

Mark Kleiman’s weblog, “An Ouchie for George”

November 29, 2003. High Times in the Magic Mushroom Business and its Completely Legal, Mark Honigsbaum, The Guardian

November 28, 2003. The politics of rEsearch by Harry Shapiro, is published in the Nov/Dec issue of the British magazine, Druglink.

This article reports that Ricaurte’s mislabeling error “came to light when a student attempted to replicate the study and then made an official complaint when permission to publish the new findings was denied.” In order to verify if this was accurate, Rick Doblin called the Johns Hopkins press office and was informed that Dr. Ricaurte says that there is no substance whatsoever to this allegation.

November 24, 2003. The British newspaper The Guardian published a positive article today about MAPS’ progress towards final approval of our MDMA/PTSD study. Later today, BBC Scotland will interview me about the MDMA/PTSD study during its drive-time rush hour show. BBC World News just called about doing an interview that it will send out tonight to stations all over the place, and BBC London called for its Five Live national show. Also, the youth station in Dublin, Ireland (Spin1038) will conduct an interview. Just the struggle to obtain permission for the study is presenting us with some good opportunities to do public education about MDMA.

The BBC published this news article today on its highly regarded website.

November 18, 2003. WBUR, the Boston NPR station, broadcast a long, positive story about medical marijuana and the UMass Amherst project, with interviews with a medical marijuana patient, Dr. Lester Grinspoon, Rick Doblin, UMass Amherst Prof. Lyle Craker, Joseph St. Laurent at Chemic Labs, and ONDCP’s Dr. Andrea Barthwell. The story, “Massachusetts Considers Medical Marijuana,” is by Rachel Gotbaum and begins by stating, “Governor Mitt Romney is expected to decide later this month whether he will join Senators Kennedy and Kerry and urge the federal drug enforcement administration to allow a Massachusetts professor to grow marijuana for medical research.”

November 17, 2003. Envisioning uses for hallucinogens, by Faye Flam, Philadelphia Inquirer staff writer

November 10, 2003. RTI denies it made mistake that torpedoed results of a $1.3M study. Triangle Business Journal, by Leo John.

Senators support proposal to grow marijuana for researchAlcoholism & Drug Abuse Weekly, No. 43, Vol. 15; Pg. 8.

November 2, 2003. Pot Project Wins Support, Education Section, Boston Globe.

October 28, 2003. An article “Senators back UM medical marijuana” – By Mary Carey, Staff Writer, is published in the Daily Hampshire Gazette

October 18, 2003. When to retract? – Reserve retraction for fraud and major error – Richard Smith, Editor, BMJ 2003;327:883-884

October 17, 2003. Behind closed doors – What really went on at the Office of National Drug Control Policy’s Summit of New England Governors, Camille Dodero, Boston Phoenix

Snake-oil salesmen
Why does the Bush administration seem so intent on denying medical marijuana to adults in extreme discomfort?, Kristen Lombardi, Boston Phoenix
(MAPS comments on this article are here.)

October 14, 2003. Concern over research reawakens ecstasy neurotoxicity debate, Kelly Morris, Lancet: Neurology Vol 2, November 2003 (also in pdf)

October 9, 2003. Nature publishes a short news story (PDF and HTML) on the MAPS sponsored MDMA/PTSD study. Nature 425, 552 (09 October 2003)
MAPS has a few comments on the article.

Sept. 30, 2003. Rick Doblin interviewed by Dean Becker, named “BEST HOUSTON RADIO COMMENTARY” for 2003 by the Houston Press, for his show: Cultural Baggage – The Unvarnished Truth About the Drug War. The broadcast of 29:00 is now online in MP3 and RealAudio formats.

George Ricaurte retracts his paper published in Science claiming that Ecstasy causes severe dopaminergic depletion and can lead to Parkinson’s disease.

See also: “The Scientific Community Responds to Ricaurte MDMA Study”, detailing the overwhelming response to this study since its original publication in September 2002.

For a paper critiquing the methodology and conclusions of some of Dr. Ricaurte’s other papers, read “Deconstructing Ecstasy” by Dr. Charles Grob.

September 30, 2003. False Drug Information Harms Kids Marsha Rosenbaum, Research Scientist, Seattle Post Intelligencer, Op-Ed

September 21, 2003. Magic plant remedy by Graham Phillips, The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney, Australia).
An article about therapeutic research with MDMA and peyote.

September 19, 2003. Ecstasy scandal grows as second study retracted DRC-Net Drug War Chronicle

September 18, 2003. Independent inquiry demanded into Ecstasy affair – Robert Walgate, The Scientist

MAPS letter to NIDA Director Nora Volkow
MAPS sends a letter to NIDA Director Nora Volkow noting the many unanswered questions in the Ricaurte et al. retraction and requesting the release of additional information. MAPS states that the credibility of NIDA is at stake. These sentiments are also expressed in a powerful editorial just released by the scientific journal, Nature.

“Ecstasy’s After Effects” Editorial, Nature. Highly recommended reading.

MAPS correction to the Nature Editorial

September 17, 2003. Additional drug research affected by drug mix-up – Robert Walgate, The Scientist

September 16, 2003. Retracted Ecstasy paper an “outrageous scandal” – Robert Walgate, The Scientist

E-fer Madness – Larry Smith, Salon

September 15, 2003. It’ll kill you — wait, no it won’t – Jon Carroll, San Francisco Chronicle

September 13, 2003. Ecstasy study is erroneousEl Mundo (pdf format)

Science forced to retract article on Ecstasy – British Medical Journal, Stephen Pincock (also available in pdf format)

September 12, 2003. “Scientists retract second drug study; Mislabeled vial used again in new Ecstasy research at Johns Hopkins lab” – Jonathan Bor, Baltimore Sun
This article was also reprinted by the LA Times on Sept. 15, 2003.

Letter to the Editor: Retraction – “Severe dopaminergic neurotoxicity in primates after a common recreational dose regimen of MDMA (‘ecstasy’)” – George A. Ricaurte, et al., Science (PDF version)

“Paper on Toxic Party Drug Is Pulled Over Vial Mix-Up” – Constance Holden, Science (PDF version)

Oops ! — ‘Killer Ecstasy’ study retracted, NIDA credibility on the line, RAVE Act Still LawDRC-NET

September 11, 2003. “Agony for researchers as mix-up forces retraction of ecstasy study” – Jonathan Knight, Nature (also in PDF format)

“Your Brain on Bad Science: Leading Ecstasy researcher retracts critical study” – Judith Lewis, L.A. Weekly

A controversial paper on the effects of ecstasy is retracted, fueling debate – Feature article, The Economist

Study of ecstasy dangers used wrong drug El Correo (pdf format)

September 9, 2003. “Researchers Retract Study on Ecstasy Brain Damage” – NPR’s “All Things Considered”

Listen to it | Read the transcript

“Congress Passed Ecstasy Law on Flawed Science/Johns Hopkins Researchers Admit Dramatic Error in Study” – Drug Policy Alliance Press Release

“MDMA Toxicity and Scientific Integrity” – Mark Kleiman, Ph.D., http://markarkleiman.blogspot.com

September 8, 2003. “‘Killer’ Ecstasy claim was false” – BBC News Online

Transcript: “World News Tonight with Peter Jennings” (6:30 pm ET) – ABC

Alex Gamma confronts Ricaurte in Basel at his public retraction – Alex Gamma

Controversial Ecstasy research used wrong drug – News Service, New Scientist

September 7, 2003. DrugSense FOCUS Alert: Bad Science Drives Drug War Hysteria

“Scientists admit: we were wrong about ‘E'” – Jo Rivell, The Observer also published in the Guardian on Sept 6th

September 6, 2003. “Results Retracted On Ecstasy Study” – Rick Weiss, Washington Post

“Report of Ecstasy Drug’s Great Risks Is Retracted” – Donald G. McNeil, Jr., New York Times

“Ecstasy Study Botched, Retracted” – Kristen Philipkoski, WiredNews.com

“Researchers retract study tying Ecstasy to Parkinson’s” – Frank D. Roylance and Dennis O’Brien, Baltimore Sun

“Drug Labeling Error Forces Scientific Journal to Publish Retraction” – Randolph E. Schmid, AP Wire Service *

“Scientists Retract Story on Ecstasy Brain Damage” – Reuters News Service *

(* – these articles were written without any input from MAPS)

September 5, 2003. George Ricaurte, Ph.D.’s September 5, 2003 retraction – published in Science – of “Severe dopaminergic neurotoxicity in primates after a common recreational dose regimen of methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA)”

Here is a comprehensive list of newspapers that have covered the Ricaurte retraction story

September 29, 2003. MAPS Sponsors two talks by Dr. Russo at UMass Amherst.
The first talk was titled “Cultivation of Marijuana for Pharmaceutical Application” and “Medical Marijuana: A Doctor’s Perspective.” The later talk is the subject of a September 30 article in the campus paper, The Massachusetts Daily Collegian. Following the article is a short letter to the editor by Dr. Russo clarifying a few comments.

August 29, 2003. “UMass professor seeks OK to grow marijuana legally” – Marcella Bombardieri, Boston Globe Note: several news stations have reported this story, including NBC San Diego, FOX-Texas, ABC and NBC-Boston, and a TV station in Jacksonville, FL.

August 28, 2003. “Umass Professor Requests Permission to Grow Marijuana for Research” – AP Wire Service

August 28, 2003. “UMass prof seeks pot permit” – Mary Carey, GazetteNet.com

August 22, 2003. “Turn on, meet god, get straight” – Daniel Pinchbeck, LA Weekly
This article was subsequently reprinted on September 18, 2003 in the London Guardian

August 9, 2003. “Why not just say yes?” – Kurt Kleiner, New Scientist. Excellent article about MAPS’ indefatigable pursuit for MDMA/PTSD research IRB approval.

August 2003. “The X Files: Experts answer your top questions about ecstasy” (also available in PDF format) – Larry Smith, Teen People

July 30, 2003. “X’ed Out” (Part 1 of 2)

“Monkey Gone to Heaven” (Part 2 of 2) – Larry Smith, Salon

July 11, 2003. “Privatizing Pot – Can the marijuana monopoly be broken?” – Jacob Sullum, Reason

June 22, 2003. “Teens, and now DEA, are on trail of hallucinogenic herb” – Donna Leinwand, USA Today

May 19, 2003. “Ecstasy Trials” – Michael Mithoefer discusses the MDMA/PTSD study on Canadian radio show “The Current”. Listen to it in RealPlayer format.

May 8, 2003. “Hallucinogenic plants might be treatment for alcoholism” – Lee Billings, University of Minnesota Daily

May 7, 2003. “Are psychedelic drugs good for you?” – John Horgan, Slate

April 28, 2003. A lengthy article in the prominent Spanish magazine, Interviu, reported on the controversy surrounding the MDMA/PTSD study and brought to light the fact that the Madrid Anti-Drug Authority actively pressured the Hospital to shut down the study. That article can be seen in the original format in Spanish, and has also been translated into English.

April 16, 2003. “The LSD Colours: Mostly Shades of Grey” – Rob Faulkner, The Hamilton Spectator

April 16, 2003. “LSD Takes Trip Down Memory Lane at Age 60” – Michael Shields, Reuters

April 16, 2003. “Discoverer of LSD Urges Medical Use of the Drug” – Nigel Glass, Reuters Health

Site Street, Spring 2003 Issue:

“Creativity and Psychedelics” – Rick J. Strassman, M.D.

“Psychointegration: The Physiological Effects of Entheogens” – Michael Winkleman

May 2003. “The Biology of…Addiction” – Michael Abrams, Discover Magazine
March 28, 2003. “Mystic herb catches fire” – Sarah Shiner, The Washington Times
March 23, 2003. Letter to the Editor – “Funding Ecstasy Research”, LA Times Magazine
March 3, 2003. “The Heretical Dr. X” – Mark Ehrman, Los Angeles Times
February 26, 2003. The Infinite Mind radio show, “Psychedelics.” Guests include Dr. Mark Geyer, professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego; Dr. Debra Mash, professor of neurology, University of Miami School of Medicine; Dr. Charles Schuster, director of the substance abuse clinical research division at Wayne State School of Medicine in Detroit and former director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse; Jeffrey Bronfman, the North American representative of the UDV (Uniao do Vegetal) religion; Nick Bromell, author of “Tomorrow Never Knows: Rock and Psychedelics in the 1960s.” The program concludes with commentary from John Hockenberry.
February 2003. “Peyote on the Brain” – John Horgan, Discover Magazine
January 27, 2003. CBS News “Eye on America” report on Erowid, featuring an interview with Rick Doblin, Ph.D.

January 24, 2003. “Doctors want better marijuana for study” – Jean Whitney, San Mateo County Times

January 20, 2003. “A new opposition front in the drug war” – Salim Muwakkil, Chicago Tribune

January 2, 2003. “Ancient Amazon Brew Comes to Colombia’s Cities” – Jason Webb, Reuters News Service