The Drug Report

Facts about what can go wrong when people use drugs

  • The Best Drug Info Ever?

    A big part of my inspiration for The Drug Report was Beth Pearce's amazing film, VOICE OF THE VICTIMS: TRUE STORIES OF ECSTASY AND KETAMINE. The film simply lets the victims of drug tragedies tell their stories. It's real life, it's undeniable, and it's incredibly powerful. I'm sure Beth has saved many, many lives, and it is my hope that this blog will do so as well. To learn more about her film, go to Voice Of The Victims.


    A friend of mine likes to say, "You're entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts."

    When it comes to drugs, there are lots of opinions out there: Some think drugs are safe and fun, some think they're dangerous and frightening, and many think everything in between.

    But facts are facts, and when someone dies from drugs, or someone is murdered by a person who is on drugs, or is raped by someone who has given them drugs, that's just a fact. Drug users who actively promote drug use rail against these facts, and I expect they'll be commenting regularly on The Drug Report. But they can't change the facts.

Archive for the ‘Ecstasy’ Category

Comment Policy

Posted by Childress on June 2, 2006

I welcome comments of most kinds, but will not post comments that include wrong or dangerous information.

For example, I deleted a comment today that said no one ever dies from Ecstasy alone (not true; I am personally aware of several Ecstasy-only deaths, both from medical reactions and from driving), and that it can be safe to use if people know how to use it (not true; it can be safer, perhaps, but again, there are many people dead who prove that it is not always safe, even if it is used "well").

This blog is not about odds; it is about facts.  I will not allow comments posted that bend the facts and present false information that could lead someone to harm or death.


Posted in Comment Policy, Ecstasy, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Drug DUIs on the Rise

Posted by Childress on June 1, 2006

Thanks to Mothers Against Drunk Driving and other activists, drunk driving arrests and fatalities are down.  But drug DUI's are up, the LA Times reports:

Russ Clark, a motorcycle officer with the Long Beach police, says he's arrested "potheads, hard-core methamphetamine addicts, even nurses and doctors under the influence of drugs."

In his pursuit of law-breaking motorists, the 26-year veteran of the department has pulled over weaving vehicles thick with marijuana smoke and drivers so high "they were moving in slow motion." "It was like right out of a Cheech and Chong movie," he says.

He's snared twitching meth addicts driving erratically and motorists so wasted on muscle relaxers they could hardly stand.

While incidences of drunk driving have declined over the years, thanks in part to organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving, driving under the influence of drugs has increased, reports Marilyn Huestis at the National Institute on Drug Abuse in Rockville, Md.

To battle the problem, researchers are scrambling to develop uniform procedures that would allow police to easily screen motorists suspected of being under the influence of drugs. 

Australia — where Ecstasy use is on the upswing, as are Ecstasy-related emergency room visits — and Europe are way ahead of us on getting contol of "drugged driving."  Read the article if you're interested in more details. 

Posted in Alcohol, Charges & Trials, Ecstasy, Marijuana, Meth, Prescription drugs | 1 Comment »

Ecstasy Search Upheld

Posted by Childress on May 31, 2006

The Seventh Circuit has ruled that a police search of a suspicious character — who turned out to be carrying a dealer-sized stash of Ecstasy — was legal.

Police were justified in seizing the ecstasy-filled bags of a train passenger who had a one-way ticket bought with cash just moments before departure and a flimsy story about a lost key to the luggage, the Seventh Circuit held Wednesday in U.S. v. Goodwin (No. 05-1809).

falls in a line of cases that deal with the coercive nature of a police stop in an enclosed space like a bus or a train. In this case, the defendant was detained for a fairly long time, his bags were seized (after he initially refused to let police open then), he was taken off the train (which then left without him), and he was told that a drug-sniffing dog was going to be brought to sniff his luggage — at which point he apparently gave up and handed the cops the key.

Read more about the bust and the case at The Drug Law Blog.

Posted in Charges & Trials, Ecstasy, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Drug Cocktail Brings Dealer Freedom

Posted by Childress on May 30, 2006

Most states now have laws that allow a dealer to be charged if someone they sell drugs to dies from those drugs.  Here's a case where the user's extremely bad decisions regarding drugs resulted in the dealer getting a walk.

LAFAYETTE (LA) – An appeal court has overturned the manslaughter conviction of a Lafayette man accused of supplying a fatal dose of OxyContin to an Erath teenager. Roland Chambers, 37, was sentenced to 20 years in prison in the March 2003 death of 17-year-old Ryan Cassidy.

Vermilion Parish prosecutors alleged that Chambers sold an 80 milligram tablet of the painkiller to another man who gave it to Cassidy and a friend, but the state 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal ruled this week that there was insufficient evidence to show that the tablet Chambers sold was directly responsible for Cassidy's death.

Under state law, a person who sells drugs to another person who dies from an overdose can face homicide charges. Prosecutors, however, must prove that the drugs in question were the direct cause of death.

The 10-page appeals court opinion noted that Cassidy's autopsy revealed the presence of several other drugs, including marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, Ecstasy and valium.

Quite a lot of drugs to have your system at one time, eh? Cassidy's drug-greed not only cost him his life, it set free the person who very well may have given him the drug that put him over the top … and into his grave.

Posted in Charges & Trials, Ecstasy, Marijuana, Prescription drugs, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

One Bad Decision

Posted by Childress on May 29, 2006

Unintended consequences. A little Ecstasy dealing never hurt anyone, right? How one mistake can lead to tragedy!

THE graduate who fell four storeys to his death at Liverpool’s World Museum was four days away from appearing in court on drugs charges, the Daily Post has learned.

Scientist Alexander Dutton, 24, was due in court for possessing ecstasy with intent to supply when he apparently killed himself.

The former Wirral Grammar School pupil had no previous convictions and had vowed never to have anything to do with the drug again.

Last night, his father, Richmond Dutton, said he did not believe his son killed himself because he could not face the shame of a conviction.

Dr Dutton, from Prenton, said he remained mystified by his son’s death.

Posted in Ecstasy, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Don’t Trust Your Drug Dealer

Posted by Childress on May 29, 2006

The details of Belinda Davey's death are depressingly familiar. In a single night, the young clubber took drug after drug — ecstasy, GHB, speed — and died from simply exposing her body to more than it could stand. What stands out in this story is the behavior of Belinda's drug dealer, who kept dealing while she died, and her friends, who stood by and did nothing.  From The Australian

BELINDA Davey had partied past dawn but she was in no mood to go home. At 7am, the 21-year-old nurse left the Bass Station Rave Club in St Kilda and drove her friends to the Pure Hard Dance Recovery Club, a favourite haunt hidden off a city laneway. Inside the club, Davey met Abraham Welly Wong, a drug dealer who sold GHB (gamma hydroxybutyrate), known as grievous bodily harm, in a nearby basement car park.Friends say Davey had only started taking illicit drugs a few weeks before. But within hours of arriving at the club on February 19 last year, she was dead.

Yesterday, a coroner criticised friends and patrons for failing to call an ambulance when they saw her unconscious in Wong's car.

During her first visit to Wong's car, Davey consumed GHB and ecstasy (she had earlier taken ecstasy at Bass Station).

At 12.35pm, she returned to his car and took speed before going back to the club. An hour later, Davey was back in his front passenger seat.

Davey drank from a bottle containing GHB, a clear, odourless liquid, which police believe she mistakenly thought was water.

She reacted badly, spitting out the liquid. ''You didn't drink from that bottle, did you?'' Wong said, suggesting she take speed to ''neutralise'' the effect. After smoking speed from a ''crack pipe'', Davey subsequently passed out.

Wong, who later insisted he was monitoring her breathing and pulse, gave her more speed by rubbing 1g inside her mouth and around her gums. Nine patrons stood and watched him.

Throughout the afternoon, Davey was left in the car while Wong continued to sell drugs and socialise with friends. Rubin Bevan, a friend of Wong's who was in the car at the time of Davey's collapse, left the carpark and went shopping.

Several patrons suggested Wong call an ambulance but he refused. At 3.15pm, Davey's friend Steven Gibson saw that ''her eyes were half open, and her mouth was half open''.

Another person checked to see if Davey was alive.

''She barely was,'' Mr Gibson later told Victorian Coroner Graeme Johnstone.

''Lee (Wong) said: 'Don't worry, she'll be fine. I've already put half a gram of speed in her mouth.' ''I said, 'No, call an ambulance'. He said, 'No, because it will be all right; I've just spent 300 bucks on this stuff; I've already put in two lots'.''

Gibson said he ''was afraid she was going to die, so I left by myself in a taxi and went home''.

Mr Johnstone said Gibson ''took no positive action to save his friend''.

At 6pm, an off-duty police officer found Davey and called an ambulance crew, who attempted resuscitation. Davey remained in cardiac arrest and, at 6.46pm, was declared dead.  

As one should expect from a drug dealer, Wong saw drugs as the answer to everything. He was wrong.  Had he been more concerned about the fate of Belinda and less concerned about selling drugs, he might have taken her to a hospital where she might have been saved. Also to blame are those who watched.  What gave Wong all the authority in this scene?  Couldn't one of them have placed a call to the police and requested an ambulance? The biggest crime?  Wong's sentence for letting Davies die was just three months. 

Posted in Charges & Trials, Ecstasy, GHB, Meth | 1 Comment »

Canada Studies Cost of Drug Use

Posted by Childress on May 29, 2006

$40 billion.  That's what drugs cost Canada annually — and it's about double what it was ten years ago, according to a comprehensive study just published by the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse.

The study included tobacco and alcohol, which were found to be far more costly than illegal drugs:  tobacco was the most expensive, costing $17 billion for the year studied while alcohol cost $14.6 billion and illegal drugs $8.2 billion. This seems to be a pretty solid argument for keeping illegal drugs illegal, eh?

More on the report:

A report by a national addiction agency says the use of a variety of drugs, legal and illegal, batter [the Canadian] economy and the users of alcohol and tobacco incur the vast majority of total costs. The use of illegal drugs results in about 20 per cent of the total amount.Loss of productivity jumped out at the research team. In 2002, the last year a full study was done, it was estimated at $24.3 billion, followed by $8.8 billion in health care costs. Statistics show that alcohol, tobacco and illicit drugs account for 20 per cent of all acute care hospital beds in Canada today. Law enforcement costs of legal and illegal drugs was set at $5.4 billion, which represents roughly half the cost of the entire criminal justice system.

The study, by the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, takes into account any cost to society caused by drug use, so it includes a wide range of people, not just hard core addicts.

Jurgen Rhem, the study's principal investigator, said about 80 per cent of people who drink alcohol cause no social cost, but that leaves a large number of people causing huge costs. He said the cost of substance abuse in Canada is significant and is on the rise. A similar study a decade ago set the cost at about half what it is today.

"This is a wake-up call," Rhem said.

The largest component of the cost was linked to disability and premature death, which accounted for 61 per cent of the total. In terms of specific drug costs, tobacco was the most expensive, costing $17 billion for the year studied while alcohol cost us $14.6 billion and illegal drugs a further $8.2 billion. The study did not include the private costs incurred by users of drugs in purchasing them or revenue generated by the purchase of alcohol and tobacco which are heavily taxed by government.

Posted in Alcohol, Ecstasy, GHB, Ketamine, Marijuana, Meth | Leave a Comment »

Study Probes Ecstasy, Heart Disease

Posted by Childress on May 28, 2006

Emory University med school has released a new study which found that Ecstasy users may face the same heart attack risks as meth users. 

The  report focused on ecstasy-related myocardial hypertrophy, which the report says is a well-recognized complication of cocaine and methamphetamine abuse and is a strong independent risk factor for sudden death, myocardial infarction (heart attack), and congestive heart failure.

The study, lead by M.M. Patel, sought to determine if use of MDMA (methylenedioxyamphetamine or 'ecstasy') is associated with myocardial hypertrophy at death."  The study was a matched, retrospective study using medical examiner (ME) death reports in 10 states and one county in the Emory area. "The findings of this study suggest that MDMA users might also be at risk for myocardial hypertrophy and possible cardiac toxicity, similar to other stimulants," the authors concluded.

Posted in Ecstasy, Meth | Leave a Comment »

Ecstasy Not Dangerous? Hmmmm.

Posted by Childress on May 27, 2006

The belief that Ecstasy isn't dangerous is so widely held that many users may think there's vitually no risk involved in using the drug.

In Australia, where Ecstasy uSandra Kanckse has been climbing dramatically, one elected official, Sandra Kanck (that's her on the right), recently said in her state legislature that Ecstasy is not a dangerous drug.

Fortunately, her comments were quickly countered by a report from Australia's National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, which revealed there were 112 ecstasy-related deaths in Australia from 2001 to 2004 — that's one death every two weeks in a country with a relatively small population of 20 million.

There's a big surprise in the study: 28 per cent of Australian Ecstasy deaths due to road crashes. Much of the attention on Ecstasy comes from deaths caused by high body temperature, or from drinking so much water that critical minerals are leached from the body. But Ecstasy is a mild hallucigen, which helps explain the high number of driving deaths.

Posted in Ecstasy, Uncategorized | 1 Comment »