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That's a shame. These guys' lives are going to be seriously messed up by this, and from the drug list, it looks like they were selling fairly ethical stuff; according to the article, they sold "LSD, ecstasy, fentanyl, mescaline ketamine, DMT and high-end marijuana".

> it looks like they were selling fairly ethical stuff; according to the article, they sold "LSD, ecstasy, fentanyl, mescaline ketamine, DMT and high-end marijuana"

"Fentanyl is approximately 100 times more potent than morphine, with 100 micrograms of fentanyl approximately equivalent to 10 mg of morphine and 75 mg of pethidine (meperidine) in analgesic activity."[1]

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fentanyl

Okay, that's an exception. Scary stuff. (My sympathy is still with the guys running this service, but my estimate of their virtue went down.)

The entrepreneur in me really feels for them. They're true entreppies. Risking literally everything. Sure we risk our life savings and sacrifice having a normal life but they risk losing all that AND the chance at being thrown in jail for the rest of their lives.

Every time you hear a new drug commercial on TV, pay close attention to its side effects: permanent lung damage, eye damage, brain damage, death, heart attack, stroke, birth defects, etc... Notice how a drug that damaging is perfectly legal. Then look at how weed and lsd are criminalized. Sadly, I guess we'll have to wait till the older congress retires little by little and gets replaced with new lawmakers.

You know...I have always hoped that as the older lawmakers died off, drugs would be decriminalized. However, I've since accepted that the huge amount of propaganda being shoved down our throats on a daily basis and the willingness of much of the population to not question what they're told/shown means the system will just recreate itself when that happens. Most voters are simply network repeaters...they happily echo messages/misinformation created by various sources who have a vested interest in seeing us continue to smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol and eat unhealthy foods. And the moment any of these repeaters get out of line, the sources simply need to throw up a "it's killing our helpless children" argument to get them back on track.

It's tiring and sad to watch. All of us came into this world on equal footing, in that we opened our eyes and had to learn about what life really means. The fact that we allow a controlling entity to tell us what we can and can't do with our own bodies is ridiculous and honestly downright scary. Why should they know better than I what's right for my own body? And I say this as someone who has a family, loves his children, and doesn't do drugs, but respects and values what I consider a basic human right. What you do with your body, as long as it doesn't impact others, should be your business.

Hear, hear. I think it's important to acknowledge that the drug war persists for the same reason the TSA does: that there are large-scale industries, with hundreds of thousands of employees, which would be painfully disrupted by a change in policy. The fear-mongering is how they defend their continued existence, it is not the reason for it.

Liquor companies; prison guard unions; police units who self-fund from drug raids; even semi-legal MMJ growers who oppose full legalization. All of these entities, and others, have a strong incentive to perpetuate the persecution of millions of Americans for the crime of questionable health choices.

Ecstasy is horribly nasty stuff. People rarely OD, but it can vary quickly do significant and permanent brain damage with heavy use. The real problem is when the symptoms show up they are basically permanent. Honestly, prolonged heroin use is significantly less harmful, the only good thing about ecstasy is the unpleasant side effects and fairly long high limit how much people take.

There are two major misconceptions around MDMA, both funded by flawed government studies. The first misconception is that MDMA causes "holes in your brain" but this study was debunked. The original claim was based on the notion that MDMA "destroys up to 80% of your serotonin neurotransmitters irreversibly." This was shown to not be true for two reasons: a much larger study (the largest study ever conducted on MDMA use) showed that it's only possible for MDMA to affect up to 5% of your serotonin levels, and it's reversible after a period of weeks or months of nonuse.

The second major misconception is that MDMA causes Parkinson's. The original study was retracted because the drug manufacturer mislabeled the MDMA bottle as Methamphetamine, a completely different drug. They gave the Methamphetamine to monkeys instead of MDMA.

I would recommend checking this out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjvNCijeYlI

Skip to part 3 if you're wanting to get to the scientific studies.

> the drug manufacturer mislabeled the MDMA bottle as Methamphetamine, a much more damaging drug

It's not even so much that (comparing two drugs like that doesn't really make sense). It's that the dosage administered was far more than what would be comparable for methamphetamine. 6 mg/kg of one drug is not necessarily comparable to 6 mg/kg of another drug... 300 mg of methamphetamine for a ~110 lb. person over 9 hours is absurd - the maximum prescribed dose of Adderall (d-amphetamine) is generally 40-60mg per day, and that's only for individuals with high tolerance (or very severe problems such as narcolepsy). These are oral dosages, mind you, whereas the study used subcutaneous injection, which amplifies the effect of the drug further. Then account for the fact that methamphetamine crosses the blood-brain barrier more easily than its cousin that lacks the methyl group, and you start to wonder why only one of the five monkeys died.

Even before they realized the drug mixup, the Ricaurte, et. al. study is so flawed that it's almost laughable that it was published in the first place. Your study is intended to simulate the environment of a club/rave? 20% of your subjects died after what you considered to be a moderate dose, and you didn't think that was cause to question your methods? Raves may not be the healthiest places in the world, but if real life were anything close to what those data suggest, the morning after a concert or rave you would find the floor literally covered in dead bodies.

I won't even get into the absurd conclusions that they draw from their measurements themselves, since this is HN, not a neuroscience forum, but suffice to say that any college freshman in an introductory neuroscience class should have known better. It's as if they copied and pasted the analysis from another study and inserted their own data into it - that's how nonsensical it is.

The retraction for Ricaurte, et. al.: http://www.pages.drexel.edu/~ls39/peer_review/Ricaurte_retra...

(The original study is linked from the retraction page; I'd emphasize again that the study itself had enough other flaws in it that it should never have been published in the first place, even if the drug mixup had never been discovered).

I edited my comment to be more neutral towards Methamphetamine; I wasn't aware of the significant dosing differences and that's important.

The real problem is the way the studies were conducted. They didn't test hair samples to verify whether the participants used MDMA, much less control the environment it was taken in. The largest study I referred to that was done by Harvard Medical was done on people who had never tried the drug before, were not at raves taking drugs which could not be verified for purity (amongst other problems like dehydration and hyperthermia), and they verified their study through hair samples.

I gave a little more detail here: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3850923 But, while the holes in the brain and Parkinson's where not accurate there is significant evidence that MDMA causes issues and it's not old enough for a lot of long term issues to show up.

PS: My mother has a PHD in neurology with a focus on brain development and MDMA is the drug she was most frightened of. Not that that actually means much in the grand scheme of things, but she has done a lot more literature review of MDMA than I or I suspect anyone on HN has done.

Nobody knows what happens to long term chronic users of MDMA. But we do know that the propaganda that was spread by US government funded studies has been debunked. Scare tactics should be treated with strong skepticism. Before club users got their hands on it and it got banned in 1985 (against a federal judge's recommendation nonetheless), MDMA was a perfectly acceptable drug used by monks, priests and therapists for couples therapy.

Edit: can you please link up the studies you're referring to?

Fear is not equal to facts. I'm sure your mother is a fine scientist, but just because she is afraid of something doesn't equate to facts. Link to a published study of hers? I doubt such exists though. I'd gladly accept a scientific consensus, if one existed, saying that MDMA was harmful, however there is no such consensus. All you are doing is spreading FUD.

MDMA (if that is what you mean, as street 'Ecstasy' can contain any number of other ingredients) is by most metrics one of the safer recreational drugs out there.



MDMA isn't -that- harmful. You're assuming when you buy Ecstasy you're being solid pure MDMA, which often is not the case.

E.g. "Police link 25 deaths and counting from tainted Canadian ecstasy"


"12th death linked to tainted ecstasy in Alberta, B.C."


"8 Alberta deaths linked to ecstasy-like drug"


It's not fair to call tainted ecstasy deaths a result of drug use. Despite the fact tainted ecstasy is technically not ecstasy, if the industry was regulated it wouldn't happen.

"A cholesterol-lowering drug taken by 700,000 Americans — Bayer Pharmaceutical's Baycol — was pulled off the market Wednesday because of muscle destruction linked to 31 U.S. deaths and at least nine more fatalities abroad" http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-201_162-1788794.html

A larger number of Canadians also died from tainted pork from maple Leaf bacon

This is especially surprising since God explicitly told you not to eat pork almost 3000years ago.

Remember kids, pork and shellfish are evil - just so no.

MDMA is not old enough to show it's long term effects the way smoking or drinking has.

One study of 52 users that where hand selected out of 1500 that showed no cognitive impairment. http://www.addictionjournal.org/viewpressrelease.asp?pr=147 Others studies both before and after have demonstrated issues. The problem is it's hard to find good data on individuals before they started heavy use, and sleep deprivation and dehydration are linked to long term cognitive impairment.

However, if you look at the existing literature there is no large scale and long term study's demonstrating it's safety. And a lot of evidence that MDMA is dangerous.

You keep repeating "MDMA is not old enough..." but MDMA has been around since 1912, and used recreationally since the 60s. While there are certainly risks (mostly due to sourcing issues), negative effects are certainly subtle enough that after 40+ years of fairly widespread use, we haven't seen major epidemiological issues.

Furthermore, these risks must be balanced against the very tangible and easily observable psychological benefits. There's a reason psychotherapists used this drug.

You know what we're sure will ruin your future chances of holding down a job, will stunt your development, and might well lead to severe harm or even death?

Going to prison.

Putting people in prison for harming themselves is the height of absurdity.

This right here is bullshit. long term MDMA use does not cause brain damage and is certainly not worse than long term heroin use.

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