Opinion: Should ecstasy be decriminalised?

In the homes, bars and clubs of Jesmond, drugs are consumed by hundreds of people every weekend. 

Earlier this year Richard Branson, saviour of Northern Rock and would-be space adventurer advocated a change in our drug laws. He said that drug-takers should not be locked up, and that drug-taking should be treated as a health issue, not a criminal matter.

His main reasoning was that he believed it would lead to a fall in use, as has happened in other countries that have tried it. Drug use is often just a passing phase which causes no long-term harm. Why criminalise a young person for that and possibly affect the rest of their lives?

And I have to say I agree with him. But I would go even further. It is clear that current laws are not working, particularly in respect of ecstasy.

The National Criminal Intelligence Service estimates that between half a million and 2 million people take E’s every week. But because it is illegal we have no idea of the true picture.

Branson has no agenda. He isn’t trying to appeal to a middle England electorate who are so anti-drugs they can’t countenance any liberalisation. He can speak freely, something that can’t be said of other players in the debate.

Poor Professor David Nutt was forced out of government for giving an honest evidence based opinion, but unfortunately what he was saying wasn’t politically acceptable.

A 2011 study carried out by Harvard Medical School found no signs of cognitive impairment due to ecstasy use, and that it did not decrease mental ability. The report also raised concerns that previous methods used to conduct that research on ecstasy had been flawed, and the experiments
overstated the cognitive differences between ecstasy users and nonusers.

Drug laws are all about control and currently they are out of control.

We are leaving all the power in the hands of the dealers, who just care about profit and not the health and wellbeing of their customers. They cut drugs with substances and there is little way of knowing what it is.

If supplies were controlled people would know exactly what they were taking. Many bars and pubs will refuse to serve people who are too drunk. In fact they are breaking the law if they serve a visibly drunk person. A similar rule could govern drug sales. Again more control.

There may also be a knock on effect of reducing the power of gangs.

Some people undoubtedly will get addicted and need help, much as the same as happens today. They could be helped. Instead of most of the moment going to dealers and being used to buy flash cars and guns, it could be put to use in the National Health Service or drug rehabilitation centres.

We need some sanity in our drug laws. Decriminalising ecstasy would be a start.

Do you agree? Or do you disagree? Post your comment below.

2 thoughts on “Opinion: Should ecstasy be decriminalised?”

  1. Ady stephenson says:

    2 million ecstasy users of which I am one, can’t be wrong. Decriminalising it is definitely a step in the right direction. I have a respectable job and yet I am made to feel like a criminal each time I go to a club or festival with a couple of pills stashed on my person. If caught I face losing my job and a criminal record and yet I’m only out to have fun. Where alcohol is concerned there is always a simmering aggression lying under the surface and all it takes is one wrong look and there follows a trip to A and E. I have never met an aggressive ecstasy user. They would sooner hug or talk you to death than raise a fist to you. There’s nothing like the shared feeling of a crowd when the DJ drops that one killer track, everyone raises their arms in the air, the knowing smile between those on E before the crowd goes mental dancing. By legalising it you are doing away with the criminal element. Manufacture will be governed so you know exactly what you are getting and the Government can take taxes on it. It would amount to a minimum of 3 million pounds every week in to the Governments pocket. Like every user I have experienced what badly cut Ecstasy can do. I now own a testing kit and test every pill I get before consuming. This would no longer be an issue if it was legally produced and sold in clubs. At some point someone is always going to bring up the death of Leah Betts and other users. Most of these can be put down to them not being given enough information. Leah Betts drowned because she drank too much water. If sold legally in clubs they could be given the necessary advice. Drink one pint an hour, always take regular breaks from dancing and keep an eye on your friends. As a sensible user I never ever mix drugs and alcohol. The government needs to open it’s eyes and change it’s drug policy. Ecstasy is none addictive so there isn’t the need to rob people to get your next fix. Yes they can provide councilling if they feel the need and this could be taken from the tax made but I’m pretty sure no ecstasy users will feel the need for it. I know several police officers and they all feel it is a waste of time going after your average clubber. The money can be better spent elsewhere.

  2. TheGnu says:

    It is diffcult to make an infomed judgement about legalising Ecstasy have had no personal experience of any sort.
    However what we need to face is the pretty obvious suppostion – if Alcohol was invented today and all of it’s consequences and side effects understood and honestly accepted – it would never have been legal!

    So perhaps before experimenting with legalising Ecstasy, what about getting a real handle on the abuse and misuse of alcolhol as a model for any other legalisation.

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