Ecstasy Harm Reduction Debate

It was back in the 80s when US First Lady Nancy Reagan famously campaigned to discourage teens and other young people from taking drugs with the phrase: JUST SAY NO. Fast forward to 2012 and in B.C. a string of deaths due to overdoses of the drug Ecstasy has some arguing it is time to just offer a little more advice on how to use drugs.

Part One of The Current


It's Thursday, January 5th.

Michelle Bachmann has dropped out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination.

Currently, God admits he told her to run, he just didn't think she'd do it.

This is The Current.

Ecstasy Harm Reduction Debate

A 24 year old Abbotsford, B.C. woman remains in hospital this morning, in critical condition. The woman's name has not been released, but she overdosed on the drug ecstasy at a New Year's Eve party.

And just before Christmas, another Abbotsford woman, 17-year-old Cheryl McCormack died after taking ecstasy. She apparently took the drug as a means to lose weight. There have been six ecstasy overdoses in the past six months in B.C., but the drug remains a favourite with young people.

The province's Chief Medical Health Officer warns ecstasy is very dangerous. But Dr. Perry Kendall believes the "just say no" approach is not working. We heard briefly from him from speaking on the CBC in British Columbia on Tuesday.

Police who regularly speak to students at Abbotsford's schools also warn about the dangers of ecstasy. But unlike Dr. Kendall, they have little time for the harm reduction approach. Constable Ian MacDonald speaks for the Abbotsford Police. We aired a clip.

Two very different approaches in trying to deal with illegal and addictive drugs among young people. To discuss the pros and cons of those approaches we were joined by two people. Donald MacPhearson is the Director of the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition. He was in our Vancouver studio. And Gwen Landolt is the former president of the Drug Prevention Network of Canada and still serves as a board member. She was in Toronto.

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