Dr. Perry Kendall, one of B.C.’s leading health officials says taking pure ecstasy, without any other substances, is totally safe for adults – when consumed responsibly.

MDMA and street ecstasy

MDMA, the pure substance originally synonymous with ecstasy was thought to be responsible for a series of deaths, but according to Dr. Kendall, the life-threatening danger appears only when the drug is polluted by money-hungry gangs who cook it up. That’s why, furthermore, Kendall is advocating the legalization of MDMA, selling it through licensed, government-run stores where the product is strictly regulated, much like alcohol.

Just like the growing voice chanting a chorus for marijuana legalization, Kendall believes crushing the black market associated with ecstasy sale will greatly reduce violence and other related incidents, and usage rates will also decline.

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“(If) you knew what a safe dosage was, you might be able to buy ecstasy like you could buy alcohol from a government-regulated store,” Kendall said in an interview.

He was, of course, asked if, after studies and regulations, usage of the product would be safe.

“Absolutely,” he responded. “We accept the fact that alcohol, which is inherently dangerous, is a product over a certain age that anybody can access. “So I don’t think the issue is a technical one of how we would manage that. The issue is a political, perceptual one.”

Police estimate some 20 people from the British Columbia alone die due to street ecstasy consumption each year. However, Kendall and his colleagues believe this happened due to a mutation of the drug, likening it to the wave of bootleg beverages during the 1920s prohibition era.

“Methyl alcohol led to huge rates of morbidity and mortality in the United States under alcohol prohibition because of illicit alcohol manufacturing,” said Dr. Evan Wood, a lead researcher at the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS and internationally-recognized expert in drug addiction and related policies. “PMMA is a natural and expected consequence of the prohibition on ecstasy.”

Medical effects of MDMA

According to medical literature, MDMA sends waves of serotonin and noradrenaline flooding towards the brain, basically releasing pleasure and energy, making users more sociable, happy, and agitated. A series of potential side effects are associated with consumption, including teeth grinding, sweating, increased blood pressure and heart rate, anxiety, blurred vision, nausea, vomiting and convulsions, even at low doses; nothing lethal though.

However, the drug’s letdown includes feelings of confusion, irritability, anxiety, paranoia and depression, and people may experience memory loss or sleep problems, jaundice or liver damage. According to officials, the ecstasy-related deaths occur as a result of dehydration and overheating after users take the pill and dance the night away. Taking MDMA also greatly interacts with any other medication, usually with devastating effects.