The purest form of ecstasy is safer than alcohol and should be legalised, Wellington Hospital’s emergency department head says.
Emergency medical specialist and clinical toxicologist Paul Quigley said there was mounting evidence that MDMA, the unadulterated base for ecstasy, was one of the safest recreational drugs, especially when compared with alcohol, which made up about two-thirds of late-night and weekend admissions at the hospital’s accident and emergency department.
His controversial call has been backed by the New Zealand Drug Foundation, and Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne said that, although the idea was a “longshot”, he would discuss its merits with Quigley.
I’m no expert on the subject but I have tried E and in a behavioural sense I’d say it had less impact one me than alcohol.
Legalising and regulating the sale and manufacture of MDMA – or 3,4-methylenedioxy–methamphetamine – could put a dent in the black market for other more harmful drugs flooding the market, Quigley said.
Where a drug has only low levels of risk and/or harm, I think regulation is better than prohibition.
MDMAshould first be tested theoretically under the Psychoactive Substances Act (PSA) testing regime, which was enacted to regulate legal highs and party pills before they were made illegal last year, he said.
“There are political and moral barriers that society has to get through – and we may still find something that is better and safer than MDMA – but people will always take recreational drugs and society has to accept that at some some stage there will be a drug available that is a safe and acceptable alternative to alcohol.”
That was unlikely to happen while domestic law was bound by United Nations drug control treaties, but Quigley said New Zealand could be a world leader and forge ahead with its own ideas of what substances were dangerous.
If MDMA passed the PSA’s testing, it could be sold with an R-18 rating, in controlled and limited doses through chemists or “head shops”, such as the Cosmic Corner chain, which would be subject to the same type of police scrutiny as outlets selling alcohol.