The Harm of Ecstasy

The harm of Ecstasy
by William Robins
The Daily Texan, the newspaper of the University of Texas at Austin

I was a bit entertained reading Ryan and Elliott Ash’s “Drug Myth Debunking” column, but as a parent of a preteen, my humor was quickly dowsed.

It is arguably true alcohol and tobacco has a much greater negative net impact than pot ever will. However, advocating or justifying Ecstasy based upon two imperfect studies is different. These aren’t the only studies (there are dozens), and you culled all but two to fit your argument. I expect better research and less ignorant bias from Plan II seniors.

If you need help I can direct you to something called “Pubmed.” If you did your homework you would find medical problems resulting from Ecstasy use to include acute kidney failure, cardiac problems and arrest, seizure, coma and death. This excludes research reporting psychological damage and dependency.

In addition, mothers who take Ecstasy during pregnancy increase risk of muscular and cardiac defects for their infants. The movement for Ecstasy legalization for medicinal use is spearheaded by the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), which was turned down by the FDA in 1999.

I’m going to withhold any unfair humor or Cheech and Chong references and go out on a limb and trust the FDA over “Psychedelic Studies.” You claim MDMA does not cause brain damage. I cite your article as evidence to the contrary. I hope any readers not well-informed about Ecstasy will do more objective research than these Plan II students. When my son is an undergraduate, I hope he can decipher between truth and propaganda from all sides, especially if he gets to write a column.

William Robins Molecular biology graduate student

The Daily Texan, the newspaper of the University of Texas at Austin, published a letter about, “The harms of MDMA” that presented misleading information about MAPS’ MDMA research projects. The letter critiqued a previous column entitled, “Debunking drug folklore,” MAPS President Rick Doblin replied to correct the record. While taking time to write to a student newspaper may not at first glance represent a wise use of MAPS staff time, in the age of Google, even student letters can be read by a large number of people, especially when the topic is discussed repeatedly in the student newspaper. Indeed, the Daily Texan also published a more reasonable letter, “The harm of Ecstacy, II.” While MAPS concentrates on scientific research, our educational mission is also of major importance.