The harm of Ecstacy, II
by Nishat Mukherji
The Daily Texan, the newspaper of the University of Texas at Austin
I want to congratulate the Ash brothers for their article “Debunking Drug Folklore.” It is important to critically question the government’s “War on Drugs” by deconstructing the propaganda machine. In that vein, the Ash brothers’ article did a splendid job.
However, there are some issues I have serious concerns about. I believe that the authors were a bit too cavalier when they claim, “MDMA, popularly known as Ecstasy, does not cause brain damage, nor does it have any long-term physiological effects.”
Their argument debunks the methodology of the abysmally constructed Ricaurte study. This is a legitimate point, but to invalidate one study and also claim something so strong requires extraordinary evidence. The results, unfortunately, are either damning at worst or inconclusive at best.
What about the role of Serotonin transporter binding? What about the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS)? What about the still nagging neurotoxicity issue?
I suggest reading two studies by Gouzoulis-Mayfrank (2001) and Semple to see both sides of the debate. MDMA can provide immense benefits in psychotherapy and I fully encourage further research on developing phenethylamine analogues for this purpose. Until then, we must remain agnostic about the issue. It is dangerous to suggest otherwise.
Nishat Mukherji is Biomedical engineering student and Plan II junior