An image used by the National Institute of Drug Abuse in the US. It’s message is that ecstasy kills brain cells. Hmm, what other drug(s) does that too?
I don’t remember when it was, maybe it was a year or so ago, but I remember the moment quite clearly. There was a sensationalistic piece on the news about the dangers of the drug, and how people are dying from it. I’d said to her that although people have died from taking it, we don’t see the same sensationalism about the dangers of tobacco and alcohol which kill more people than all other illicit drugs combined.
She was curious as to why people take it. So I described to her how people behave on it, how it feels and the side-effects, and why do people take it in dance clubs. I was being truthful without admitting to having taken it but it was an easy conclusion to come to. “Have you taken it?” she’d asked. “Yes”, I’d said.
And ever since then, I’ve talked to her about it when it comes up in the news. She’s seen me coming down on it and she wasn’t too scared by it. In fact, most times she never noticed. I’ve shown her scenes from movies depicting the use of the drug and I’d tell her whether it was accurate or not. We’d even sat down and watched the entire length of “Go“, a movie that was mostly about the drug. By then she was quite educated and she’d even commented during one scene when a character got greedy with the happy pills, “Oh that was not a smart thing to do.” 🙂
Besides ecstasy, the other drug that is woven into a lot of movies is marijuana. And most times, you’ve had to have taken it, or at least know enough about it, to understand the humour of it. It’s even in a lot of shows on TV and its depiction is in a very “wink wink, it’s quite fun and harmless actually” kind of manner.
Not so with ecstasy, as that is still depicted as a dangerous drug mostly. But I think it’s slowly creeping up in its level of social acceptance. There are funny allusions to it like the show “The Soup” having a segment called “Let’s Do Some E” (as in E!, the cable entertainment channel). And tonight I caught an episode of “How I Met Your Mother” alluding to it too: the character Marshall is in a club and suddenly gets a toothache so he asks around for an aspirin, before he walks into the club toilets and emerging grinning from ear to ear and hyper, with the narration going, “I don’t know what happened in there, but Uncle Marshall emerged much happier”.
What I’m trying to get at, is that if you didn’t know anything about ecstasy, you wouldn’t have gotten that joke. And I’m happy to report that my mom totally got it and laughed.
The other thing that I’m saying is that, it’s good to have an honest discussion about drugs without the fear mongering and judgement. This is something that I intend to do with my kids if I ever have any. It’s better to give them knowledge than to hope that if they stumble into it and get pressured to try it, that they’d emerge unharmed. Much like with sex really.
But I’m not saying that ecstasy isn’t harmful or there are no bad consequences. Legality of the drug aside, it’s always good to have all the facts. Heck, a lot of prescription drugs get abused too. Plus, a lot of criminal elements and the harm of ecstasy use would be reduced if it ever becomes a regulated drug with guaranteed purity. Alas, this discussion is now a bit too long winded. Though I shall leave you with some further reading. 🙂
Methylenedioxymethamphetamine – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Ecstasy – The Good Drugs Guide
Experts on Ecstasy Challange National Institute on Drug Abuse (US) – Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics