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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Should Ecstasy Be Downgraded? UK

Before the turn of the century ecstasy was a big headline puller and journalists wrote about it a great deal. Recently, however, cocaine and heroin have taken front stage. Just because ecstasy is not hitting the headlines as much as it used to may not necessarily mean it is not a dangerous drug and should consequently be downgraded. The declining popularity of the rave scene has lead to a drop in ecstasy interest. Hence, ecstasy's classification is being reviewed.

According to the Department of Health, 567,000 people under the age of 60 in the UK used ecstasy in 2006. 48% of them were aged 16 to 24. Experts say these figures indicate only a very 'slight' decline since the 1990s. Prices have dropped as well, from £25 in the early 1990s to approximately £5 today.

Official figures show that 246 people died as a result of consuming ecstasy during 2003 to 2007, compared to 28 from the beginning of 1998 to the end of 1999.

Experts say that from a clinical point of view ecstasy should never have been a Class A drug, like heroin - it should have been a class B if penalties are supposed to be in proportion to consumption risks and dangers.

The government is currently carrying out a review of ecstasy's category. Prof. David Nutt, who is soon to head the ACMD (Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs), has said ecstasy is not as damaging to health as heroin or cocaine, both Class A drugs. The ACMD will publish its report at the end of 2009.

The police, on the other hand, are mostly against changing ecstasy from Class A to Class B.

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