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[Contents][Appendix 1]
[Reference 193][Reference 195]

E is for Ecstasy by Nicholas Saunders

Appendix 1: Reference Section

194 Letter from myself in New Scientist, 18/12/93


Susan Katz Miller's article entitled How Ecstasy blows your mind (20 November) reports on the results of American research that, she says "may be evidence of the 'neurotoxic potential' of the drug".

She then goes on to report that, "In personality tests, the team found that the group who took Ecstasy were less impulsive and hostile, and showed greater constraint and control". However, she doubts that these characteristics were caused by their use of Ecstasy, quoting an American psychiatrist's view that "people who gravitate to this drug are often less hostile".

However, there is evidence to indicate that Ecstasy modifies user's behaviour in this way. An ethnographic survey by Mark Gilman, a researcher for the Manchester drug agency Lifeline studying a group of football supporters, showed that when they switched from alcohol to Ecstasy they gave up fighting. Simultaneously, statistics confirmed that the number of fans arrested and ejected from grounds fell to their lowest level for five years.

An interesting aspect of the American research not mentioned in your article is that peaceful behaviour was associated with lowered serotonin levels, contrary to general belief. This supports the findings mentioned in your article Does the aggressive gene lurk in a Dutch family? (This Week, 30th October 93) which links aggressive behaviour with high levels of serotonin.

When the World Health Organisation expert committee recommended that member countries of the Convention on Psychotropic Substances outlaw MDMA (Ecstasy) in 1985, they were sufficiently impressed by anecdotal evidence of its potential benefits to issue a directive urging member countries "to facilitate research on this interesting substance" under the provisions of Article 7.

As Britain is a world leader in Ecstasy consumption per capita, isn't it time that some serious research was carried out in this country?

Nicholas Saunders

[Contents][Appendix 1]
[Reference 193][Reference 195]
E is for Ecstasy by Nicholas Saunders (
HTMLized by Lamont Granquist (