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Alcohol more deadly than MDMA

SystemSystem Posts: 8,649 Staff Team
Now you have to take this story with a pinch of salt, the Independant have a bit of a nasty habit with drug stories of only putting what they want and not what the story really is.

BUT - the comments from Proffessor Nutt in this article are really interesting.

http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/politics/article362535.ece

Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I think what the second expert is saying is that only a very few people die from an alcohol OD, where as people do die from just using MDMA.

    But, I dont think thats really a good argument, dead is dead. And alcohol is linked to billions of pounds worth of social damage because of violent crime.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    that report you posted a little while back said much the same thing, on many of the graphical scales used, particularly in Phase 1 of the report Ecstasy and LSD look benign by comparison.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    alcohol is classified as a poison for good reason.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Thanks for the link.
    Although there is a lot of harm from alcohol, very few people just die from drinking alcohol, but they do die from taking E.
    Very few indeed, but there are still more people who die from drinking alone than taking ecstasy.
    If the Government does downgrade E, then it sends a signal that it's less harmful than it was before.
    And if they made an effort with alcohol considering the relative dangers, perhaps they could send the signal that alcohol is actually much more dangerous than a lot of people think.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    bongbudda wrote:
    I think what the second expert is saying is that only a very few people die from an alcohol OD, where as people do die from just using MDMA.
    .

    The number who do is very small though, I assume the risk of dying just taking ecstacy is comparable to most prescription drugs.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Am I right in saying more ecstasy-related deaths are caused by dehydration or hyponatremia than by actual overdose/allergic reaction? If this is true, then this number could be reduced even further by using more (or better) education.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Am I right in saying more ecstasy-related deaths are caused by dehydration or hyponatremia than by actual overdose/allergic reaction? If this is true, then this number could be reduced even further by using more (or better) education.

    True.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    The UK study (A tale of two Es.(Ethanol and Ecstasy). David Nutt. Journal of Psychopharmacology 20.3, May 2006) was a simple two-paged analysis of alcohol vs. ecstasy statistics from 2003 and factors that may be contributing to the public myths that drove the harsh legal classification of ecstasy, as well as other myths that detract from the dangers of alcohol

    These are the 2003 statistics that include diseases caused by alcohol vs. ecstasy:
    Deaths: 22,000 vs. 10
    Related Fatal of Violence: 10,000 vs. 0
    Traffic Deaths: 1500 vs.0

    He suggests that the reason for the misleading hype surrounding ecstasy is a result of the lopsided funding of awareness campaigns:
    “One possible explanation for this imbalance that has been alleged is that the anti-ecstasy campaign was supported by groups or individuals with financial interests in the alcohol industry because they feared a culture shift in young people away from alcohol to ecstasy and related dance drugs.”
    He goes on to dispute the basis of harm and blames the hyperthermia-related deaths on clubs:
    “However ecstasy is not a completely safe drug and in the early rave scene a few deaths occurred as a result of hyperthermia and dehydration (probably because clubs prevented access to free water)."
    The conclusion of the study:
    “Given the current situation apparently increases the harms of alcohol perhaps it is time for sensible public debate on these issues.”
    The commentary in The Independent article was provided by David Raynes from the National Drugs Prevention Alliance:
    "Although there is a lot of harm from alcohol, very few people just die from drinking alcohol, but they do die from taking E."
    This statement is preposterous to the point I wonder if it’s a misprint. We lose 1,700 college kids to alcohol deaths alone every year in the U.S.! A prior study on England and Wales shows that alcohol deaths are climbing (5,970 in 2001 to 6,580 in 2003); a bit lower than the Nutt numbers because they exclude related diseases. How anyone can say alcohol is safer than any drug is beyond me and diminishes whatever shred of credibility might be present.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Thanks for that CuzICare. I may read through the original paper when I get chance (is the full text available for free online - if not I'll download it from uni).

    The real reason is that while ecstasy cannot be traded legally, the government cannot make money from it on taxation. Whereas with alcohol, they make shit loads of cash.

    Does anyone know how the figures compare for alcohol taxation vs. alcohol expenditure on the NHS, police forces etc? Do they make a profit, and if so how big? Would be interesting to know...
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Am I right in saying more ecstasy-related deaths are caused by dehydration or hyponatremia than by actual overdose/allergic reaction? If this is true, then this number could be reduced even further by using more (or better) education.

    The same could be said for alcohol - the problem is people just don't listen, or the actual risks aren't hammered home enough. Acolhol causes more damage because it is the dominant drug of our civilization: it is easily available, cheap, reliable (as in you generally know when you buy a pint of beer that you're getting a full pint, and it is good quality), and cemented in our social practises, concepts of masculinity, even political hierachical structures - I could go on.

    Therefore many more people are exposed to it, more often, and are more likely to pick it up as a bad habit. There are very few social spheres that find alcohol unacceptable or offensive, it is generally ingrained in our culture. Those in society who have a tendency toward addiction, binging, or self-destruction are much more likely to do it through alcohol primarily for these reasons.

    I agree that ecstacy is probably less harmless in general, and to be honest I'd agree that it is more difficult to become properly dependent on than alcohol. Nevertheless, it is impossible to tell. Probably if it were introduced/permitted/prescribed as a mainstream drug you'd find that just the same types of people who abuse alcohol until it did them significant harm would abuse ecstacy (or another equivalent group who are susceptible to ecstacy's specific effects). It would simply make common a whole other set of social problems.

    To sum up: if ecstacy became as mainstream as alcohol I think it would present just a wide a range (and depth) of problems. If I could walk into a bar, or a corner shop from 11am onwards a day and pick up a bean, knowing for certain that it was of a standardised quality, for a couple of quid a go (as would presumably be the price), I'd probably be wasted all day every day. Don't know whether I'd become a problem to other people, but I'm pretty sure a lot of the people I walk past on the street each day would if they had the same oppurtunity.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    But there shouldn't be nearly the same level of violent crime related to ecstasy-taking as there is with alcohol. Ecstasy is also generally safer in terms of awareness - if you pop a pill you are more aware of your surroundings, not less. So therefore less likely to get run over etc.

    I still think MDMA poses much less of a risk than alcohol does.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    But there shouldn't be nearly the same level of violent crime related to ecstasy-taking as there is with alcohol. Ecstasy is also generally safer in terms of awareness - if you pop a pill you are more aware of your surroundings, not less. So therefore less likely to get run over etc.

    I still think MDMA poses much less of a risk than alcohol does.

    True, but I reckon thats because most people use e in quite well defined and informed environments - clubs, raves, home, gigs, where everyone has to be a little more tolerant of its effects than just in general public (although of course some people do, these I find are those people who respond best to the experience, use it responsibly, and are comfortable and in tune with its sensations). If you had people using it the way people do alcohol you'd get all sorts of incompatible attitudes and feelings towards others. If different people are experiencing the world differently (especially with narcotics) you get more incompatibility and conflict. And again, I'm sure many people who soely use alcohol now, if they had easy and regulated access to e, then they'd abuse it just to the same extent - long term, its pretty uncertain how large numbers of the population would respond....
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Am I right in saying more ecstasy-related deaths are caused by dehydration or hyponatremia than by actual overdose/allergic reaction? If this is true, then this number could be reduced even further by using more (or better) education.

    Its a mix, yes the majority are because of dehydration or hyponatremia but that isnt the whole story, like any strong stimulant (cocaine or amphetamine are the same) it can bring on heart attacks, strokes, burst blood vescles etc.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    carlito wrote:
    To sum up: if ecstacy became as mainstream as alcohol I think it would present just a wide a range (and depth) of problems. If I could walk into a bar, or a corner shop from 11am onwards a day and pick up a bean, knowing for certain that it was of a standardised quality, for a couple of quid a go (as would presumably be the price), I'd probably be wasted all day every day. Don't know whether I'd become a problem to other people, but I'm pretty sure a lot of the people I walk past on the street each day would if they had the same oppurtunity.

    But no one is suggesting that as an answer, and even if it was the case why would you get wasted all day every day? Virtually all users go through a bell curve of use and then the side effects get to much and they stop. This happens now and it would happen if supply was legal.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    On the point of being wasted on XTC everday i really dont think anyones brain could handle it. Imagine all the lack of sleep and fatigue it would cause and if you think about it the pills would be a set dose and probably a good dose giving 4-6 hours of euphoria and one hell of a come down.

    It would just end up being like crap speed, you cant extend the euphoria long enough to use them all of one day, let alone all day for a week or more.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    bongbudda wrote:
    But no one is suggesting that as an answer, and even if it was the case why would you get wasted all day every day? Virtually all users go through a bell curve of use and then the side effects get to much and they stop. This happens now and it would happen if supply was legal.

    Yes, maybe using it all day every day is an exaggeration - what I am saying is that the negative effects of e are moderated by its current status in society.

    For instance:
    These are the 2003 statistics that include diseases caused by alcohol vs. ecstasy:
    Deaths: 22,000 vs. 10
    Related Fatal of Violence: 10,000 vs. 0
    Traffic Deaths: 1500 vs.0

    Those statistics are a misleading considering the use of ecstacy is much lower than the use of alcohol, in different environments and by different people. (Also how can they assume that no one has been killed through violence or on the road through ecstacy use? Obviously the stats are based on verifiable, clear cut cases, but I think it is naive to use them to show that ecstacy is harmless in these regards. For instance, whilst e might not make the user violent, their behaviour whilst under the influence might provoke violence in others)

    Many people do drink to excess, some every day all day, and their decision to do so is not prevented by the increasingly negative side-effects. You can't really predict how large sections of the population would react, even if most people who use it in its current (sub)culture stop using it after their "honeymoon" period...

    To be honest I'm partly playing devils advocate here, I agree it should be downgraded (at least). What I am saying is I think it is wrong to assume that because it does not cause the same damage as alcohol in our present society, it would not cause significant (if not greater - but there is no way of knowing) problems if it became as mainstream and widely used as alcohol.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    carlito wrote:

    Many people do drink to excess, some every day all day, and their decision to do so is not prevented by the increasingly negative side-effects.
    (if not greater - but there is no way of knowing) problems if it became as mainstream and widely used as alcohol.
    people who drink everyday all day ...aren't actualy making a decision to do this ...they are driven by their illness.

    as for the e ...there is a way of knowing ...chemicaly and effect wise.
    ecstacy will never and can never become as mainstream as alcohol in any society.
    alcohol can be used in very simple ways such as ...drinking a toast to someone ...having just one glass before bed ...ecstacy cannot and never will be used in such a way ...as different as chalk and cheese.
    thats why the drug laws are so stupid.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    carlito wrote:
    Many people do drink to excess, some every day all day, and their decision to do so is not prevented by the increasingly negative side-effects. You can't really predict how large sections of the population would react, even if most people who use it in its current (sub)culture stop using it after their "honeymoon" period...

    To be honest I'm partly playing devils advocate here, I agree it should be downgraded (at least). What I am saying is I think it is wrong to assume that because it does not cause the same damage as alcohol in our present society, it would not cause significant (if not greater - but there is no way of knowing) problems if it became as mainstream and widely used as alcohol.

    So you are saying the law is stopping people using MDMA? I've never noticed that myself.

    The law does nothing other than make using MDMA more risky.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    people who drink everyday all day ...aren't actualy making a decision to do this ...they are driven by their illness.

    True - my point is that people could (and probably would) use ecstacy in the same way if it were more widely available and/or if it was so heavily ingrained in our social practises...

    ...of course you're right that ecstacy could not replace alcohol as our civilization's number one drug, but it could certainly provide a serious cultural alternative (as others have pointed out, that is why its use is opposed by businesses with a stake in keeping alcohol as the dominant drug, and the government who relies on their support).
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    bongbudda wrote:
    So you are saying the law is stopping people using MDMA? I've never noticed that myself.

    The law does nothing other than make using MDMA more risky.

    Obviously it doesn't stop people using MDMA, but it limits its exposure to the population in general, and the stigma attached to it in many social spheres (mainly by its legal status, and by the unreliability of supply that you point to) means that many who do have the choice stay well away.

    I think thats a shame that this is the case, as many of those people would undoubetdly benefit from the MDMA experience (I know I did after I shed this initial closed minded attitude). What we cannot tell is how many would react badly to the chemical itself, replace their alcohol abuse with MDMA abuse, or what effects it would have for many people's general wellbeing.

    Simply don't know enough about it yet...

    Maybe one day :yippe:
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    carlito wrote:
    True - my point is that people could (and probably would) use ecstacy in the same way if it were more widely available and/or if it was so heavily ingrained in our social practises...

    ...of course you're right that ecstacy could not replace alcohol as our civilization's number one drug, but it could certainly provide a serious cultural alternative (as others have pointed out, that is why its use is opposed by businesses with a stake in keeping alcohol as the dominant drug, and the government who relies on their support).
    i don't believe ecstacy could ever become a dominant drug in any manner where it would threaten the sales of alcohol.
    it just cannot be used on a daily basis like that.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    i don't believe ecstacy could ever become a dominant drug in any manner where it would threaten the sales of alcohol.
    it just cannot be used on a daily basis like that.

    It already does threaten the sales of alcohol - not many people (or at least not many informed people) that I know drink at the same time that they are using MDMA, when they otherwise would do. Thus alcohol companies lose money when people use MDMA.

    Like I said, it would never replace alcohol at number one- but it could provide a significant (and possibly more desirable) cultural alternative...
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    carlito wrote:
    It already does threaten the sales of alcohol - not many people (or at least not many informed people) that I know drink at the same time that they are using MDMA, when they otherwise would do. Thus alcohol companies lose money when people use MDMA.

    Like I said, it would never replace alcohol at number one- but it could provide a significant (and possibly more desirable) cultural alternative...
    ahhh ...see what you mean.
    as for more desirable cultural alternatives ...cannabis and ecstacy i'm sure would see a huge reduction in violence and crime and even time off work.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    ahhh ...see what you mean.
    as for more desirable cultural alternatives ...cannabis and ecstacy i'm sure would see a huge reduction in violence and crime and even time off work.

    Definately - and the empathy and positive feelings towards others that MDMA brings about in most people could have unquantifiably positive consequences on how people in society relate to each other :love:

    When the time comes that irrational prejudice against these drugs does not exist and we can have responsible and positive use of them, my personal feeling is we will see a lot more of these: :D and definately some more of this :hyper: instead of this :grump: and this :mad:

    But as I was saying, we don't really know enough about widespread and long term use to know if :crazyeyes , :crying: , and :shocking: would become more prevalent.

    Lets hope for the best!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    carlito wrote:
    Obviously it doesn't stop people using MDMA, but it limits its exposure to the population in general, and the stigma attached to it in many social spheres (mainly by its legal status, and by the unreliability of supply that you point to) means that many who do have the choice stay well away.

    I think thats a shame that this is the case, as many of those people would undoubetdly benefit from the MDMA experience (I know I did after I shed this initial closed minded attitude). What we cannot tell is how many would react badly to the chemical itself, replace their alcohol abuse with MDMA abuse, or what effects it would have for many people's general wellbeing.

    Simply don't know enough about it yet...

    Maybe one day :yippe:

    Yes, but its the people most likely to abuse it who are the least likely to be put off by the law and quality issues. The people likely to use it properly are the ones put off by the law, so you would gain some users but mostly only ones who would respect the chemical.

    As for it replacing alcohol, there was a bit of a threat of that certainly, thats why drinks companies started pumping out those suger filled drinks with caffiene in them. But now most users seem to drink just as much alcohol with MDMA as they would without it.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    bongbudda wrote:
    Yes, but its the people most likely to abuse it who are the least likely to be put off by the law and quality issues. The people likely to use it properly are the ones put off by the law, so you would gain some users but mostly only ones who would respect the chemical.

    Perhaps you're right - but it would be difficult to tell without a detailed sociological analysis of drugs available in various different peer groups/social spheres/demographics/geographical areas: what I'm saying is that it is impossible to predict this. bTherefore we should not make the assumption that MDMA is less harmful/problematic than alcohol on the existing conditions/users.
    As for it replacing alcohol, there was a bit of a threat of that certainly, thats why drinks companies started pumping out those suger filled drinks with caffiene in them. But now most users seem to drink just as much alcohol with MDMA as they would without it.

    :(
  • Teh_GerbilTeh_Gerbil Stalin's Organist Posts: 13,327
    bongbudda wrote:
    Now you have to take this story with a pinch of salt, the Independant have a bit of a nasty habit with drug stories of only putting what they want and not what the story really is.

    BUT - the comments from Proffessor Nutt in this article are really interesting.

    http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/politics/article362535.ece

    Alcohol probably is. It is a bad drug...

    Someone really ought to fund a proper study with no agenda into the effects of all the drugs out there.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    carlito wrote:
    Perhaps you're right - but it would be difficult to tell without a detailed sociological analysis of drugs available in various different peer groups/social spheres/demographics/geographical areas: what I'm saying is that it is impossible to predict this. bTherefore we should not make the assumption that MDMA is less harmful/problematic than alcohol on the existing conditions/users.

    It is impossible to say what would happen to use, though if you managed the legal supply properly (learn from the total failure of alcohol) then damaging use need not increase.

    But its not really about use levels, its about harm.
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