The Agony of Ecstasy: Amend the Illicit Drug Anti-proliferation Act

by

By refusing to amend the Illicit Drug Anti-Proliferation Act, Congress continues to stand in the way of harm-reduction services as the number of drug-related deaths continues to mount in the night life and music communities.

What is the Illicit Drug Anti-Proliferation Act?

In 2003, the Illicit Drug Anti-Proliferation Act (Read the full text here.) was passed by Congress in an effort to combat deaths due to ‘club’ drugs, such as MDMA. This act states that organizers of an event where controlled substances are suspected to be present can be charged with a felony for contributing to drug use, punishable by up to 20 years imprisonment, a fine of up to $500,000, and can have their venue seized by law enforcement.

What are the effects of this act?

This act has proven to be ineffective as stories of deaths at music events due to drug use continue to emerge. The Drug Abuse Warning network recently reported that national ED visits due to MDMA toxicity increased 120% between 2004 and 2011 while levels of MDMA use have remained relatively constant.

ecstasy graph

Past Month Ecstasy Use among People Aged 12 or Older, by Age Group: Percentages, 2002-2014. Figure produced by 2014 Drug Use report sponsored by HHS
Source: http://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-FRR1-2014/NSDUH-FRR1-2014.htm

 

One victim of this act was 19 year-old Shelly Goldsmith, a student at the University of Virginia, who died of dehydration and heatstroke after consuming MDMA at a rave in Washington D.C. Shelley collapsed while attempting to make her way through the hot, crowded venue to the bar to buy a bottle of water.  The current act discourages venues from distributing free water to prevent heat stroke or any other harm-reduction services, else they face federal prosecution for suspicion of contributing to drug use.

shelley-biden01

Shelley Goldsmith died at 19 years old from heatstroke after ingesting MDMA at an Electronic Dance Music concert where no free water was available, is seen here posing with Vice President Joe Biden, who authored the Anti Illicit Drug Proliferation Act
Source: https://www.amendtheraveact.org/

Advocates such as Shelley’s mother, Dede Goldsmith, have spoken to Congress on the importance of harm reduction and educating the public on safe drug use.  Senator Tim Kaine has recently announced that he intends to propose an amendment to current law which will allow venues to provide harm-reduction services without bearing the risk of legal consequences.

Unfortunately, the bill is unlikely to easily pass. Most members of Congress are nervous about appearing ‘soft’ on drug policies and will need to be shown that harm-reduction is the will of the people and that passing this amendment will save lives.

What can we do to show Congress how important this amendment is?

  • Sign the Petition! Send Congress a message that the American people want to stop the unnecessary deaths: Petition: https://www.amendtheraveact.org/sign-the-petition/
  • Donate! The organization, ATRA (AmendTheRaveAct.org) creates and distributes campaign materials to educate the public on the harms caused by this amendment
  • Speak out! By explaining the benefit of harm reduction, and the differences between harm-reduction and the promotion of drug use, you can help turn the tide of public opinion against using an abstinence only strategy to reduce drug related-deaths.

.

Advertisements

2 Responses to “The Agony of Ecstasy: Amend the Illicit Drug Anti-proliferation Act”

  1. tonsilstonessite Says:

    How to Get Rid of Tonsil Stones @ https://tonsilstoness.com/

  2. informed reform Says:

    This article shows how the governments in so many supposedly leading nations follow the media agendas and fear instead of science. It is really well written with a great call to action. I am heading up a campaign that aims to get conversations going and shift the stigma around drug use and promote education, harm minimization and decriminalisation. It really surprises me how many people think about all the terms that are being thrown up in the air at the moment around drug policy and just divide things into a black and white binary.
    I would love to talk more with you about your thoughts on reform, check out my blog at https://informedreform.wordpress.com/blog/

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: