Should Ecstasy Be Legalized? Counterpoint Debate

There are many drugs terrorizing our nation, from low-cost heroine and crack to high-potency crystal meth. One drug equally vilified that gets a bit less attention is Ecstasy, known by its chemical name MDA or MDMA.

MDMA was first synthesized by Merck in 1912 to stop abnormal bleeding. It didn’t work in that capacity and was quickly abandoned, left for history to rediscover.

In the mid-1970s Alexander Shulgin re-synthesized MDMA, but he didn’t give it much attention among the myriad chemicals he rediscovered, discovered and outright invented.

Therapists like Zeo Zeff even used MDMA with great effect in counseling. This drug is difficult to abuse, based on its nature and method of action, but it’s illegal. Should it be?

Debating this issue is Brian K. White of and Dean Chambers of

Brian K. White —

I’m something of an expert when it comes to MDMA, or as it’s known on the street, Ecstasy. In my early 20s, I tried it once. A few years later, I tried it a second time. A few years after that I bought about 80 hits of it and made an amazing year of it. In the course of this I had many experiences and met many people who shared them with me, and the one thing I can tell you for certain is that nothing bad happened.

Nobody ever overdosed, nobody had a bad trip, and nobody looked back and said “well that was stupid.” We all had safe, sane fun, and none of us did anything that we regretted. We were all just flooded with serotonin, and we loved it, as those flooded with serotonin do. The only bad story comes from Max, who post-Ecstasy, thought he’d popped a hernia. After getting checked thoroughly, the doc jammed her fingers into his ball-canals to find nothing wrong, despite the pain and discomfort she caused him… yeah, turned out he was just hungry. The E had just suppressed his appetite. Good times.

Dean Chambers —

Whether MDMA should be legal or not should be decided at the state level. Otherwise, does the other side propose there is some medicinal use for MDMA and is there any empirical evidence to support a claim of such benefit? If there is a case for drug being legal or legalized and regulated for certain usages, that case should be made to the states.

Brian K. White —

Okay, now you’re speaking my language. In this case, since there is not majority support, I would indeed like it to be thrown back to states to make their own decisions. MDMA has been used medicinally in couples counseling with tremendous success. Couples are euphoric, open, honest and say things they wouldn’t otherwise, while the other listens receptively in ways they otherwise couldn’t.

If there was one state in which it was safe, legal, tested and regulated, I would go there. Not to live, but to visit. If it was legal in my state, I’d probably do it twice a year. I know from experience it is not addictive (despite how fun it is) and that I’ve never made any of the many awful decisions I have on alcohol. So let’s do it. Let’s let states determine whether or not they want to legalize it.

Dean Chambers —

What else do I need to say when you’ve conceded to my argument, that this issue should be decided at the state level. When will concede this on other issues, such as same-sex marriage, abortion and just about all the other so-called social issues. Decide those at the state level and let’s address real federal issues at the national level, like addressing our soon to be $17 trillion national debt.

Author: Brian White

Brian first began peddling his humorous wares with a series of Xerox printed books in fifth grade. Since then he's published over two thousand satire and humor articles, as well as eight stage plays, a 13-episode cable sitcom and three (terrible) screenplays. He is a freelance writer by trade and an expert in the field of viral entertainment marketing. He is the author of many of the biggest hoaxes of recent years, a shameful accomplishment in which he takes exceptional pride.

7 thoughts on “Should Ecstasy Be Legalized? Counterpoint Debate

  1. It would probably come in handy on really bumpy flights Brian, but going round the supermarket would be chaos if everybody was all loved up… And it could kill boxing as a sport. Just sayin’

  2. @Skoob – “The consumption of illegal drugs – as far as I see it – is the biggest threat to society as we know it.”

    That’s the thing though. Some drugs are rightly banned, others not so much. Why is heroine illegal while all of it’s pharmaceutical cousins still pedaled freely in every city? Either a drug is harmful, or it isn’t.

    MDMA is almost never harmful. More people die from over the counter pain killers like Aspirin, than do ecstasy. Maybe ecstasy does long-term harm, as some in the field of addiction medicine have speculated, but it’s been SO banned that even the study of it is off-limits.

    I agree that the black-market in drug trade is horrible, that the “war on drugs” is failed, and that the cartels pretty much call the shots, name the prices, and get away with literal murder… but ecstasy? Come on.

  3. I suppose I’m trying to make more than one point Brian. The consumption of illegal drugs – as far as I see it – is the biggest threat to society as we know it. Because the drugs are illegal, there’s an awful lot of money to be made. (Yeah, I know, stating the bleeding obvious, but bear with me.) There are no controls over the quality of what users buy. If drugs were legalised, they could be manufactured to the same standards as legitimate drugs. Safer for users, eliminates the criminal involvement, generates taxes, creates jobs, benefits society. Everybody wins.

    Interesting comparison you made about alcohol. That’s legal in the Western world, yet the cost in health care for alcohol driven accidents/violence is astronomical. Yet because it’s legal, there isn’t a violent organised crime group controlling supply. (At least not since prohibition in your country.) It’s a problem, but a manageable problem. If we legalised drugs and adopted a similar policy to the way we treat alcohol, we’d almost cut out organised crime at a stroke. So in some ways I’m in favour of legalising all drugs.

    Of all the recreational drugs available, Ecstasy is undoubtably the safest – safer than alcohol, cigarettes, and a hell of a lot of prescription drugs. Providing it’s pure and not being cut with all kinds of crap. Regulation could resolve that problem quite easily.

    Some of the ‘legal highs’ available are as dangerous as anything out there, so I’d argue for legalisation, quality control and regulation.

    Obviously I have reservations about the whole thing, because from personal experience, there will be casualties. That’s inevitable. If people can be persuaded to use recreational drugs responsibly, then legalising these drugs, and having standard controls makes good sense to me.

    The problem appears to be not what people are using, but where they’re buying it from. As things stand, the dealers and the traffickers are making all the money. They’re the ones declaring war on each other in order to protect their own interests, or their ‘turf.’ The gang banger on the corner would probably be the only unhappy kid on the block if drugs were legalised.

    So, in response to the original question – I have no idea.

  4. So Skoob, what I hear you saying is that even with the black market, even with all the adulterants, it’s still vastly safer than alcohol.

    What if it was above ground and there were no adulterants. Death by dehydration is less common than death by something like aspirin. It’s a very, very safe drug.

  5. Hate to be a Mister Sobersides here, but the reality is that there have been Ecstasy fatalities here in the UK. Partly because of dehydration, and partly because of questionable additives utilised by unscrupulous pharmacists. Google ‘Leah Betts’ or the ‘Essex Boys’ cases. I’d agree that usually it’s harmless enough, used responsibly, but through bitter experience I’d say that there is a valid reason for it being illegal. My eldest son died at 29, a heroin addict. He had an addictive personality and was always looking for the next big thing. During the last few months of his life he wasn’t really capable of making rational decisions. It all comes down to the fact that some people can deal with certain substances, but others are less well equipped mentally or emotionally to be able to make a distance between recreational use and addiction. In my son’s case it started with smoking weed, before escalating. I’m not preaching to anyone, because I don’t have a ready solution. I wouldn’t presume to. Maybe legalising everything is the answer – and that isn’t intended in an ironic way – because at least that might help stop the killing which goes on everywhere. (It isn’t an exclusively American problem.) Personally I’d go for legalisation with some sort of quality control involved. It’s like prohibition – that was a mess, but it became manageable. Anything has to better than gang rule on the streets, home invasions, carjackings, muggings etc. On a personal level, I’m not too enchanted with the idea of ‘Big Brother’ running things, but maybe it’s a slightly better option than the psycho gang banger on the corner with a gun in his hand, or uncontrolled substances flooding our streets to make the lost and disenfranchised feel a little better.

    Sorry if that was a bit dull. But it’s an honest appraisal, and I see too many people who lose their kids to what starts off as a fashion trend. Take away the financial incentives of the traffickers and regulate things – that’s one possible solution, or at least a part of it. Otherwise it won’t be communist armies or terrorists who erode society as we know it – it’ll be little white chemical substances.

    Sorry for being an arse, but I have strong feelings on this subject.

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