Fears over health costs of the 'ecstasy' culture
Thursday 09 May 1996
With one in five people regularly using cannabis, ecstasy, LSD or amphetamines, it amounted to a "voluntary but uncontrolled mass experiment" - because no-ones knows the full and long term effects on physical and mental health.
Public anxiety over drugs such as ecstasy focused on the rare but sudden deaths triggered by hypothermia and dehydration - like that of Leah Betts.
But the independent Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (Post) said there was also concern about the long term chemical effects on the brain - revealed in animal experiments with some support from research from humans. Its 90 page report on common illegal drugs - not heroin or cocaine - concludes: "There is concern that given the large numbers taking ecstasy, even a small proportion becoming clinically depressed would have significant social and health service implications."
The report claimed that increased availability and the affordability of soft drugs had led to an increase in their usage. "Equally important may be the integration of drugs into whole areas of youth culture. Thus where their parents smoked cigarettes or drank beer to demonstrate their growing independence, now cannabis or LSD feature, in many cases alongside alcohol."
The study also reveals that one in 10 people who have tried cannabis develop "some form of psychological dependence syndrome". Dr Michael Norton, director of Post said: "We are not saying that people develop a physical addiction to cannabis, or that it becomes the most important thing in their life, like those hooked on heroin. But one in 10 do seem to become in some way dependent on the drug."
Although the comparison with alcohol and tobacco will be seized upon by those who favour decriminalising cannabis, the report stops short of such a recommendation.
Common Illegal Drugs and Their Effects; Post, House of Commons, 7 Millbank, London SW1P 3JA; pounds 15.
A full inquest on Claire Pierce, the policeman's daughter who died after apparently taking a cocktail of ecstasy, vodka and distalgesics, will be held tomorrow, it was announced.
A toxicology report identifying what substances 20-year-old Claire, of Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, took last weekend will be passed straight to the coroner, a police spokesman said.
- 1 Kim Jong-un shows off airport designed by architect he likely had executed
- 2 Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
- 3 Why it matters 26 million people have changed their Facebook profile picture to a rainbow flag
- 4 German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
- 5 Fifty Shades of Grey author E.L James's Twitter Q&A didn't go exactly as planned
Michael Douglas regrets 'embarrassing' Catherine Zeta-Jones with oral sex comments
Kim Jong-un shows off airport designed by architect he likely had executed
Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
Ex-Scientologist Carmen Llwyelyn blasts 'cult' and her treatment after divorce with Jason Lee
Tunisian builder has been hailed a hero after knocking gunman to the ground with roof tiles
The moment a Queen's Guard soldier lost it and drew his gun at annoying tourist
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Extend Right To Buy to tenants of private landlords, Labour's Jeremy Corbyn says
David Cameron struck double blow in his hopes to win Britain a new EU deal
Pentagon accuses Russia of 'playing with fire' over nuclear threats towards Nato
£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An On-line Sales & Customer Ser...
£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the largest hospitality companies...
£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As a result of significant cont...
£16575 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An excellent opportunity is ava...