Report on the DEAs
National Ecstasy & Club Drugs Conference
held on July 31- August 2, 2000
On Monday, July 31, 2000, through Wednesday, August
2, 2000, the DEA held a National Ecstasy & Club Drugs Conference in
Washington, D.C. for the purpose of providing information on MDMA (Ecstasy) to local,
state, federal, and international law enforcement agents.
This report is a detailed summary of that conference.
Richard Fianno, Chief of
Operations for the DEA, opened the National Ecstasy & Club Drugs Conference stating
that every city in the United States has experienced some rise in Ecstasy use over the
last several years. One problem with this, he said, was that Ecstasy causes biochemical
The kids believe that Ecstasy is safe,
they enjoy the rave experience, but actually what is happening is that over the next
couple of days after taking Ecstasy their brain cells are actually being programmed to
Fiannos comment was a
blueprint for much of the conference, as one speaker after another used the following
schema for their talk: (1) Ecstasy is a problem because kids and parents think it is
perfectly safe or benign. (2) But, official NIDA-endorsed studies have proven that Ecstasy
is not safe. (3) Thus, law enforcement must stop the inflow of this drug into the US and
reduce demand for the drug by educating people that Ecstasy is not safe.
This schema was a straw man. Users
of Ecstasy are undoubtedly aware that they are taking an illicit synthetic drug and
this very fact makes it unlikely that anyone taking Ecstasy thinks that it is entirely
safe. No drug is entirely safe, especially one which is made in underground labs and/or
purchased or obtained from an unknown, untested, source.
This schema employs sweeping
premises that disingenuously assert that the DEAs principal concern is that people
be made aware of the possible neurotoxicity and other potentially negative effects of
using MDMA. If the DEA were truly interested in reducing the harms associated with
Ecstasy, it wouldat the very leastendorse and employ a harm reduction model
rather than a criminal prohibition model.
The fact of the matter is that a
person is a criminal for using MDMA, even if that person is well informed of the potential
dangers and, knowing those dangers, has decided that the potential benefits of occasional
use outweigh the potential harms. So long as the DEA continues to condescend to MDMA users
by arguing that they are ignorant of the dangers of using MDMA, rather than acknowledging
that many, if not most, users are aware of the risks and yet believe those risks are worth
taking on occasion, the DEAs efforts are doomed to meet with intense resistance and
Likewise, until national drug
policy comes to terms with the fact that people have a natural attraction to experience
multiple modes of consciousness, beyond those produced by drugs such as alcohol and
nicotine, the governments resources will be misdirected from providing valuable harm
reduction information, prisons will continue to overcrowd, taking money away from schools,
and organized crime and corruption will prosper. Apparently we learned absolutely nothing
from the catastrophic failures of Alcohol Prohibition.
Fianno kicked things off at the
conference by showing a DEA-produced video that featured several of the people who would
later speak at the conference.
Donnie Marshall, Administrator of
the DEA, stated (on the video):
I think it is safe to say that the
rapidly expanding use of these club drugs by young people is one of the most startling law
enforcement and social issues facing the United States in the early part of the 21st
One of the major difficulties in combating these drugs is that the users
believe they truly believethat unlike crack or heroin, club drugs are
harmless. Something that researchers increasingly show to be tragically and sometimes
is using a multifaceted approach, enforcement and
prevention to confront this growing danger.
This video was really quite a
spectacle as it combined techno rave-style music, flashing lights and quick edits, with an
old-fashioned 1950s-style narrator common to government anti-drug films of previous
One DEA agent from New York stated
on the video:
We have not seen street
distribution of this drug. Primarily, it is sold inside the clubs. So one of the
challenges is to get inside these rave clubs were actual distribution of this drug is
taking place. Also, the greater challenge, where we operate at peak efficiency is to
identify the leaders of these organizations that are responsible for the manufacture,
importation, and distribution of this drug in the United States.
The narrator noted that Sammy
The Bull Gravano was involved in the Ecstasy trade and was busted by the DEA.
Involvement by Gravano, said the narrator, shows the sophistication of the international
Ecstasy trade, which now involves organized crime. Again, the glaring analogy to Alcohol
Prohibition passed by without recognition.
The video noted that in May of
this year legislation was proposed that would increase the penalties for MDMA offenses,
and that Congress held hearings on MDMA in June. For more information about these bills
and the June hearing on Ecstasy, visit the Web site for the Center for Cognitive Liberty
& Ethics at http://www.cognitiveliberty.org/ecstasybill.htm.
Other club drugs were
quickly mentioned in the video: GHB, Rohypnol, methamphetamine, and ketamine. Shifting
into a dropped tone for emphasis, the narrator cautioned:
and of course
theres always LSD and PCP. All these club drugs are taken alone, in combination with
each other, in combination with different drugs, or alcohol. They have become so deeply
integrated in the club scene that their use appears completely normal, so normal that
there no longer seems to be any attempt to conceal them.
Dr. David Gavin, from the
DEAs Department of Diversion Control, stated on the video:
Lately raves are just a venue for
drug purchases. They are no more than analogous to a crack house in which you go, buy the
drugs, and go out the back door.
The videos narrator stated
that Ecstasy use is on the rise, noting that from 1998-1999 past year use rose
33% for 10th graders and 56% for 12th graders. But the largest
category of club drug abusers consists of 18- 25 year olds. There are almost
1.5 million of them.
The video ended with the narrator
again claiming that most people who use club drugs believe they are harmless,
when in fact using club drugs is the opposite of harmless:
[Taking club drugs
(narrators voice drops an octave for emphasis)]
is dancing with darkness.
After the video, DEA Administrator
Donnie Marshall addressed the attendees. Administrator Marshall said that he believes that
Ecstasy and club drug use is one of the major issues facing US law enforcement
today. He stressed that the DEA is depending on local and international law
enforcement agencies to partner with them to combat what he called a terrifying new
challenge to law enforcement. Ecstasy, he said, was an international problem.
Marshall stated that his 30 years
of experience in drug enforcement convinces him that you cant completely eradicate a
drug. So, part of the club drug crackdown must be directed at getting information out
about the dangers of these drugs. Administrator Marshall commented that parents think
raves are safe because they are often promoted as alcohol free events. Marshall said that
if a 13-year-old girl comes home and tells her mom that shes going to spend the
evening at a crack house the mother would never let her go, but if the daughter tells her
mom hes going with her friends to a rave, the mother might allow it. Parents
arent informed about what happens at raves, said Marshall.
Marshall told the attendees that
law enforcement needs to explore the whole culture of the club drug scene. Law
enforcement, he said, needs to understand the scene in order to understand the lure
of Ecstasy. At the same time, however, Marshall cautioned that perhaps law
enforcement was giving too much attention to the rave scene and thus, perhaps, missing
other important sites of Ecstasy use.
Administrator Marshall stated that
the June 5, Time magazine article on Ecstasy (see http://www.maps.org/research/mdma/time.html)
was detrimental to law enforcement because, he said, it portrayed Ecstasy as
relatively harmless. He recalled a Newsweek article in 1977 that
portrayed cocaine as a nonaddictive drug that causes no withdrawal, and probably causes no
significant mental or physical damage. Yet scientists later proved that cocaine was
addictive and damaging. He told the attendees that the same sort of thing was happening
Next to address the conference
attendees was US Customs Service Commissioner Raymond Kelly. Like Marshall, Kelly
emphasized that combating Ecstasy requires cooperation between various law enforcement
agencies: DEA, Customs, FBI, local law enforcement, and other countries.
He mentioned several large Ecstasy
busts recently made by Customs, DEA, and the FBI. Kelly explained that Customs has created
its own internal Ecstasy Task Force. They meet every morning to discuss how to stop the
inflow of Ecstasy. He encouraged other law enforcement agencies to form similar internal
Ecstasy task forces. He reiterated that US Customs has agents inside the Federal Express
hub in Memphis, has deployed Ecstasy sniffing drug detection dogs, and has agents in
Amsterdam to access the situation in the primary source country. He said that
US Customs was working to bolster its relationship with Dutch police.
After explaining how the Ecstasy
trade was sophisticated and that millions of dollars were being made, Kelly shifted his
attention to what he called the apologists for Ecstasy use. Kelly said:
[The traffickers in Ecstasy] are
also abetted by less obvious quarters. These are the apologists for Ecstasy use. They
argue, quite ignorantly, that Ecstasy is harmless. Their glowing tributes to Ecstasy are
reminiscent of Timothy Leary in the early, equally ignorant, veneration of LSD. Some of
these apologists include social scientists and others in the so-called harm
reduction movement, who claim that the real harm is not caused by the drugs and
their pushers, but by the laws designed to curtail them. Besides turning logic on its
head, this kind of propaganda has given rise to a myth that American law enforcements is
out to criminalize the harmless experimental behavior of a whole generation of young
Americans. The fact is, were trying to protect young people teenagers in
Were not out to jail teenagers who make the mistake of
experimenting with Ecstasy. Were out to jail the traffickers and their partners in
This is the message that American law enforcement has to get out in the face of
gross distortions about Ecstasy and the so-called harm reduction movement.
Commissioner Kelly said that harm
reduction advocates were heavy on theory but light on reality.
Kelly failed to mention that one
of the provisions in the Ecstasy Anti-Proliferation Act of 2000, which is currently being
considered by the Senate, would jeopardize young people (and others) by threatening to ban
information that might help reduce some of the harms associated with using Ecstasy. See www.cognitiveliberty.org/ecstasybill.htm
for more information about this bill. Clearly, such a law can only increase the
harm associated with Ecstasy. Thus, it is disingenuous for DEA or Customs to, on the one
hand, try and disparage harm reduction advocates, all the while claiming that DEA is just
trying to protect young people.
Kelly said that law enforcement
has a dual mission with respect to Ecstasy: (1) disrupt the flow of Ecstasy and bring
traffickers to justice; and (2) convey the message to public that Ecstasy is
dangerous. He then said:
... and dangerous people are
trying to convince our children to use it. Again, alluding to (and
mischaracterizing) groups which seek drug policy reform, he noted, we also have to
remind some people of what could not be more obvious: that is, we are the good guys in
this fight, and the traffickers are the bad guys. No amount of posturing, in academia or
anywhere else, can change that.
Dr. Alan Leshner, Director of the
National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) was the next speaker. He began with a slide show
about how various drugs act within the brain. He compared the current period of MDMA
knowledge to the early years of LSD use. Leshner told the attendees:
Remember when LSD was cast
everywhere as, you know, a great psychotherapeutic agent and it was terrific, and it gave
you deep insight into everything that was happening in your life and OOOPS, low and behold
we discovered that its not so good for your brain. Well, not dissimilarly, we now
are experiencing the early phase of that with Ecstasy.
It was shocking to hear Leshner
the Director of NIDA imply that LSD was proven to cause some sort of brain
damage. LSD is a potent psychoactive chemical, so it is no surprise that people who are
unprepared for the experience, or people who take LSD harboring a mental instability can
become profoundly confused. But, no reliable studies of LSD have concluded that the drug
can cause brain damage. For the Director of NIDA to imply otherwise is unpardonable, and
emblematic of NIDAs ideologically based pronouncements about any drug not backed by
a well-financed pharmaceutical, alcohol, or tobacco company.
Leshner told the attendees that
prolonged drug use rewires the brain and these brain changes are what produce
a compulsion to use drugs and an array of other behavioral consequences. Club
drugs are particularly good examples of this compulsion, he said. He cited a Johns Hopkins
Study that produced PET scans showing a normal person versus an Ecstasy user
three weeks after he or she stopped using Ecstasy. Leshner said that the PET scan showed
persistent changes 3 weeks later. He also stated that a recent study shows that the degree
of serotonin system damage caused by Ecstasy directly correlates to the degree of memory
deficit. These studies can be found and reviewed at the Web site of the Multidisciplinary
Association for Psychedelic Studies, www.maps.org,
as well as at http://erowid.org/chemicals/mdma/mdma_journal.shtml#memory.
Here are two quotes from
Leshners talk, which summarize, and are representative of, NIDAs view of
the point is,
there is no such thing as a harmless club drug. It is a myth that Ecstasy is a benign
fun drug. The scientific evidence is absolutely clear. These are dangerous
substances, not only in the short run, because they lead to dangerous behaviors, but in
the long run, because they can in fact produce dramatic brain changes that last long after
the individual stops taking the drug and that have dramatic behavioral consequences that
can last the rest of someones life.
It is true that
Ecstasy does not appear to cause physical dependence. But it does cause compulsion to use
drugs, and I might point out again that physical dependence is not whats critical in
What causes crime, what causes family disruption, what causes societal
disruption is the compulsion to use drugs. Its just as real as physical dependence
and its based in those brain changes.
Leshner said that addiction, at
its core, is a brain disease. It comes about, he said,
because of changed brains. Its as if you had a switch in your brain, and this
is a metaphor, you dont really have a switch in your brain
. You go through a
stage of initial drug use. Initial drug use is a voluntary thing, and therefore a
preventable behavior. Then drug use, drug, use, drug use, OOOPS, something happened in
your brain and the switch flips. And, you move from the stage of voluntary drug users to
the state of compulsive drug user and again that compulsion is the essence of
Obviously, issues of a drugs
neurotoxicity (or any other physical damage that is caused by a drug) should not be
discounted. However, the rhetoric employed by Leshner seems to conflate and confuse
detrimental physical changes to the brain, with subjective psychological
changes or shifts in thinking. Blurring that line, as Leshner seems to do, means that NIDA
has entered into the dangerous business of determining (or decreeing) just what sort of
psychological shifts are appropriate and what sort are inappropriate brain
diseases. Leshners rhetoric, when adopted as official government policy, is a
clear threat to the basic autonomy of each individual to control his or her own mind.
In wrapping up his talk, Leshner
promoted NIDAs various web sites, and stated that the clubdrugs.org website is
all scientifically accurate. None of what we use, ever, is hyperbolic
During a short question and answer
session, one person said that he had heard that MDMA might have therapeutic value. Leshner
There has never been a clinical
trial demonstrating the efficacy of Ecstasy for any clinical condition. And I have looked.
There is not one published clinical trial. Again, the plural of anecdote is not evidence.
So the fact that some people stand up and say Ohh, I tried Ecstasy and it saved my
life. Very few of the people who tried Ecstasy and died, stand up and say that
right? As Dr. Gold will say later, Im sure, there has never been one scientific
study that has demonstrated a clinical or therapeutic utility for Ecstasy. And thank you
for asking that. Its a critical thing to set the record straight.
Aside from failing to acknowledge
that NIDA has refused to approve research that would examine the important issue of
MDMAs potential value as an adjunct to psychotherapy, numerous patients and
psychotherapists (what Leshner would discount as mere anecdote) have reported that
MDMA was, indeed, helpful in therapy. Some of these reports can be reviewed at www.maps.org/research/mdma/index.html#maps.
Others are recounted in the book The Secret Chief, by Myron Stolaroff (October
1997; ISBN: 0966001915). Still others can be
found in Greer & Tolbert, Subjective Reports of the Effects of MDMA in a
Clinical Setting, Journal of Psychoactive Drugs (Vol. 18(4): 319-327)
available online at: http://www.heffter.org/SUBJREPT.HTML.
Next to address the audience was
Dr. David Gavin, Drug Science Specialist from DEAs Dept. of Diversion Control.
Gavins talk was one of the
most frustrating of the day. Indeed, he slandered several psychotherapists who in 1985
(when the DEA was first considering whether to make MDMA a controlled substance) gave
testimony concerning the value of MDMA as an adjunct to psychotherapy. Gavin stated that
these therapists, who advocated against placing MDMA in Schedule I (where it could not
even be prescribed by doctors), were really trying to protect their own ecstasy use!
This is Gavins summary of
the DEA hearings in 1985:
By the 1970s and 80s some health
care professionals experimented with MDMA as an aid in psychotherapy for patients. And as
Dr. Leshner already told you, this was not FDA approved, this was not NIDA funded or NIDA
approved. These were experimental, uh, researchers or health care professionals who bought
street drugs and gave it to their patients. And the central factor in establishing that
therapeutic relationship was the knowledge that the therapists themselves had taken MDMA.
So if you were a therapist and you were going to do MDMA in treatment, uh, you, yourself,
was an MDMA user. And, that was critical in its efficacy. So that when they came and did
battle when in 1985 DEA went to schedule the drug, these health care professionals came
out of the wood work giving anecdotal experience they were really fighting for their own
MDMA supply and were not too much worried about their patients.
These statements by Gavin
were a barrel of distortions. Francis L. Young, the Judge who presided over 9 days of DEA
administrative hearings regarding MDMA in 1985 included among his findings:
Low to moderate doses of
MDMA have been given to individuals by wholly legitimate and highly regarded psychiatrists
as an adjunct to psychotherapy. Some of the MDMA so administered was made by them under
the supervision of Dr. Shulgin in his laboratory in California.
At the conclusion of the 1985
hearing, Judge Young ruled, the evidence of record requires MDMA to be placed in
Schedule III. This would have made it possible for doctors to prescribe MDMA, and
for psychiatrists to use it as an adjunct to therapy. The DEA, however, rejected their own
Judges finding and placed MDMA in Schedule I thus officially criminalizing
even medical use of MDMA. Dr. Gavin, along with every other speaker at the conference,
conveniently avoided mentioning Judge Youngs ruling.
Judge Youngs complete
ruling, as well as other information on the scheduling of MDMA, can be reviewed at: www.cognitiveliberty.org/lawlibrary/mdmaindex.htm.
For a report by two of the professionals involved in the early (1980-1983)
therapeutic use of MDMA, see Greer
& Tolbert, Subjective Reports of the Effects of MDMA in a Clinical
Setting, Journal of Psychoactive Drugs (Vol. 18(4): 319-327) available online
Dr. Gavin claimed that MDMA
has an undeserved reputation for safety probably because of those early experiments
with health care professionals
The dosages used in the early experiments do not
represent the dosages that you see kids taking today in raves.
Dr. Gavin estimated that
that 750,000 tablets are being used in the New York, Newark, New Jersey shore
corridor each weekend. With 2 million tablets coming into the United States every
He echoed his statement on the
videotape, claiming, these urban rave clubs are nothing more than crack houses. They
are there for the purchase of multiple drugs. They walk in the door, pay $20 to enter the
facility. Go to buy their drugs, and that drug is put out the back door and brought to
college campuses, high schools, and rural communities.
Dr. Gavin said that between June
and December of last year, DEA analyzed over 3 million tablets. He said that the tablets
were found to have a dose range of between .1 milligram and 193 milligrams of MDMA per
tablet. The average dose was 87 milligrams of MDMA. The median dose was 92 milligram.
He spoke about the DEAs
STRIDE database, which stands for System To Retrieve Information From Drug Evidence.
STRIDE compiles data on illegal substances purchased, seized, or acquired in DEA
investigations. Data are gathered on the type of drug seized or bought, drug purity,
location of confiscation, street price of the drug, and other characteristics. Data on
drug exhibits from the FBI; the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of
Columbia; and some exhibits submitted by other Federal, State, and local agencies also are
included in STRIDE. STRIDE data have been compiled by DEA since 1971.
Gavin said that all the seized
tablets contained some MDMA when you access the STRIDE database through primary and
secondary drug codes. In addition to MDMA, some tablets were found to contain other
controlled substances like MDEA, MDA, amphetamine, methamphetamine, and ketamine.
Referring again to the STRIDE
database, Gavin discussed a search query using suspected drug codes, stating
thats when you pick up the bogus pills. Less than 1 percent of all analyzed
samples by [DEA], are bogus. They contained caffeine, ephedrine, dextromethorphan,
caffeine-ephedrine, ephedrine plus dextromethorphan, or even over the counter
He did not mention the efforts, or
the results, of groups like DanceSafe (www.dancesafe.org),
which, among other things, provide on site pill testing at raves, as well as anonymous
laboratory testing of pills that are sent to them.
Dr. Gavin then discussed recent
studies concerning MDMAs neurotoxicity and possible effect on memory. These studies,
and reviews of them, can be found at www.maps.org, as well as www.erowid.org/chemicals/mdma/mdma.shtml.
Dr. Gavin stated that
necrosis cell death is not seen much with MDMA, but that apoptosis
is seen. He described apoptosis as:
an active controlled and
programmed process that is regulated by specific death promoter genes. When MDMA is
metabolized, it sets out a cascade to regulate, sends out messenger RNA, sets up a code to
produce these death promoter genes and proteins. You get DNA strand breaks, you dont
see that with necrosis
He stated that scientists have
blocked the apoptosis by injecting vitamin E and another anti-oxidant called
PBM into the brain.
Dr. Gavin ended his talk by
quickly surveying: GHB, ketamine, and dextromethorphan (DXM).
The next speaker was Dr. Mark
Gold, a professor at the University of Floridas Brain Institute. He began by
discussing the molecular structure of MDA, MDMA, and PMA, and methamphetamine.
Dr. Gold recited a list of what he
said were early statements about cocaine being safe and nonaddictive. He said that these
all were proven false over time, and that we are in a similar early phase with MDMA. He
drew parallels between the history of cocaine and what is now occurring with MDMA. He said that cocaine was thought a wonder drug
initially and useful for therapy, similar to some current claims for MDMA. And we now
know, he said, that cocaine is addictive and destructive to society.
Dr. Gold was asked whether an
anti-drug vaccine was realistic and whether such a vaccine could be drug
specific. Dr. Gold responded there are two such vaccines so far, one for heroin and one
for cocaine. The heroin vaccine is dangerous, he said, because it can affect other
opiates, which would be bad if you ever need morphine for a legitimate reason. He was not
aware of anyone working on a vaccine for MDMA use.
Dr. Gold said that rumors that
some MDMA contains heroin is an urban myth. DEA STRIDE database shows no pills that
contained both MDMA and heroin at the same time. The myth may be based on small parts of
dark Tootsie Roll being smeared into the MDMA when it is smuggled into raves inside
Tootsie Rolls. He also mentioned that the DEA arrested a Russian who stated that in Russia
the two drugs are being mixed.
That ended the first day of the
conference. On day two, the attendees met in small sessions to discuss various tactics for
combating Ecstasy. These meetings were closed to the public.
At lunchtime on Tuesday, attendees
heard from General Barry McCaffrey, the Director of the White House Office on National
Drug Control Policythe so-called Drug Czar. The introduction to
McCaffrey reminded me, again, that McCaffrey has absolutely no previous training or
experience related to pharmacology or drug policy. His resume is a long string of military
McCaffrey began by stressing that
combating Ecstasy requires international cooperation. He congratulated the DEA, NIDA, and
US Customs for the work they have been doing to fight against club drugs.
McCaffrey then repeated the
refrain from the first day of the conference, stating that there is a wide spread
misconception that Ecstasy is a benign substance and that this leads people to conclude
that cops should focus on more dangerous drugs. This argument, he said, ignores what NIDA
is saying Ecstasy is not benign. Weve got massive evidence now at hand
that we are watching unfold a problem of tragic consequences.
McCaffrey said he spoke with Dr.
David Smith at the Haight Ashbury Clinic in San Francisco and that Dr. Smith told him that
San Francisco is seeing an increase in poly drug abuse in which Ecstasy is one of the
drugs of abuse. But, mostly, what he [Smith] said, was we are encountering literally
hundreds of cases a month of psychotic bizarre reactions of people that have been using
Ecstasy of all ages. He [Smith] said its a massive problem and it has come upon them
almost without warning. (Read what Rick Doblin
of MAPS had to say about this after speaking with David Smith.)
McCaffrey stated that Ecstasy has measurable marked effects on
the brain. Quoting Leshner, McCaffrey stated, we have
question, that people who take MDMA, even just a few times, are likely to have long-term,
perhaps permanent problems, with memory and learning. Again, to review these studies
visit: www.maps.org/research/mdma/index.html and/or, www.erowid.org/chemicals/mdma/mdma_journal.shtml.
McCaffrey said that Ecstasy fit
the disease model to the extent that when you see a community flooded with a
new drug more people are exposed to it and, thus, like a pathogen, more will become
infected and use it. He said that Ecstasy use is skyrocketing among 18
25-year-olds. Use is up 67 percent from last year, he said.
McCaffrey said that new
legislation was needed from Congress, and stressed that more money was needed to address
the club drugs problem. After stating that the government needs a
science based education program, he them announced a propaganda campaign: a 5
million dollar media blitz which, he said, was set to begin in mid-August. He
explained, that the ONDCP was purchasing key words in the internet domains:
ecstasy MDMA club drugs and others, so that visitors
who go to those words will see our advertising banners and can have access to
science-based valid information about the problem.
I am, without
question, said McCaffrey a proponent for driving anti-drug attitudes and
messages into American culture. If thats not what Im supposed to be doing, we
got the wrong person in this job. That is precisely what the 185 million dollar a year
media campaign is trying to take NIDA messages, and SAMHSA messages, and Columbia
University messages about drug abuse and put them out there were America can learn from
them in the competitive idea environment. I just had a young Yale sophomore who was
studying this summer about the drug culture on the Internet. It is unbelievable the high
pro drug culture sites, not just selling drugs
but purporting to
explain how we can safely use these substances.
Sentencing for MDMA offenses and
other club drugs must also be increased, said McCaffrey:
I think we made a terrible mistake
to think we can influence, for example, low-level retail sales of drugs by draconian
penalties. Im more interested in trying to link the criminal justice penalty system
with the drug treatment system. At the same time, I would publicly suggest, that the
current penalties in use for MDMA are inadequate and we need to ensure that state law
this is less a federal problem than it is a local law enforcementhas adequate
tools to use to confront low level sales of pills of this dangerous drug.
As I mentioned earlier, Congress
is currently considering two bills that would significantly increase the sentences for
Ecstasy offenses. Updates on these bills, as well as an analysis of their flawed
provisions is available at www.cognitiveliberty.org/ecstasybill.htm
some pending state bills can be reviewed at: www.cognitiveliberty.org/lawlibrary/mdmaindex.htm.
McCaffrey ended his talk by taking
some inconsequential questions from attendees. The next speaker was Attorney General Janet
Reno, but CSPAN ended its coverage of the conference just prior to her talk.
For the next couple of weeks, the
DEA conference can be viewed on CSPANs Web site. Go to www.cspan.org,
and then type ecstasy in the search box. T
report was prepared by Richard Glen Boire, J.D., staff attorney at the Center for
Cognitive Liberty & Ethics.
About the Center for
Cognitive Liberty & Ethics
The Center for Cognitive Liberty and Ethics
is a nonpartisan, nonprofit, law and policy center working in the public interest to
protect fundamental civil liberties. The Center seeks to foster cognitive liberty
the basic human right to unrestrained independent thinking, including the right to control
ones own mental processes and to experience the full spectrum of possible thought.
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