Top Doc in BC Says Ecstasy is Safe and Wants it Legalized

Originally appearing here. British Columbia’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Perry Kendall, says ecstasy can be safe and wants to see it legalized in Canada. Despite warnings in both Alberta and B.C., Kendall says the side effects around the drug have been overblown. The medical official says the media is partly to blame because every time someone dies it becomes big news. “You really get a slanted perspective about how dangerous ecstasy is,” he says, “Obviously there are risks connected when you have no idea what drugs you’re taking.” One researcher agrees, and says there’s no real evidence to show the drug is addictive. Harvard psychiatrist Dr. John Halpern has studied ecstasy for 15 years. “Side effects can include a change in core body temperature, a change in heart rate and blood pressure that are short term, a short term decrease in immune resistance for a few days,” he explains. “But barring that, it can be safely administered through research.” Kendall is calling for ecstasy, and its chief ingredient MDMA, to be sold through licensed, government-run stores where the product is monitored from start to finish. He believes by legalizing the drug, officials could crush the black market and usage rates would then drop. He says this is more of a perceptual issue than a technical one and wants to be clear he’s not promoting the drug for recreational use. Sixteen people have died in Western Canada since last July from taking tainted batches of ecstasy, laced with the toxin PMMA. One of Canada’s top health officials, Dr. Perry Kendall, is speaking out in favor of drug policy reform in Canada, specifically regarding MDMA. He believes that MDMA should be made legal and available in licensed, government-run stores across Canada.