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Amsterdam Looks into Supervised Ecstasy Sales

Source: Reuters, publication date: Fri, 12 Dec 1997

AMSTERDAM, Dec 11 (Reuters) - Amsterdam's mayor proposed looking into organising supervised sales of Ecstasy on Thursday after authorities found large amounts of the party drug had been mixed with a dangerous substance.

In reply to a city council motion suggesting greater regulation of Ecstasy sales, Amsterdam's mayor said the city was willing to look into the idea but noted that this would be difficult under current Dutch law.

Up to two thirds of clubbers in the city use Ecstasy, the common name for the synthetic drug MDMA which is often referred to as the drug of choice for the dance culture, producing a sense of physical energy and mild euphoria.

But the quality of the drug varies widely and sometimes dangerously, the mayor said in a letter to councillors, pointing out the threat impure Ecstasy poses to health.

In a recent scare, authorities found large amounts of Ecstasy in circulation that had been mixed with Atropine, a depressant drug that can cause blindness, permanent heart and breathing problems or death.

``The problem of the polluted market might be met by the controlled sale of Ecstasy, while provision of (health) information could also be enhanced,'' the letter said.

``Based on the considerations above, we are not opposed to accepting the motion...we are willing to study the conditions under which controlled sale of Ecstasy is possible.''

Dutch law tolerates the sale and use of ``soft'' drugs, such as cannabis, while retaining tough penalties for dealing in ``hard'' drugs which as currently defined include ecstasy. index
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