Equasy

Prof Nutt\’s article in the latest edition of the Journal of Psychopharmacology is entitled "Equasy — An overlooked addiction with implications for the current debate on drug harms".

He writes: "The point was to get people to understand that drug harm can be equal to harms in other parts of life. There is not much difference between horse riding and Ecstasy."

The professor said equasy – short for equine addiction syndrome – caused more than 100 deaths a year.

He adds: "This attitude raises the critical question of why society tolerates – indeed encourages – certain forms of potentially harmful behaviour but not others such as drug use."

Ecstasy use is linked to about 30 deaths a year, up from 10 a year in the early 1990s. Fatalities are caused by massive organ failure from overheating or the effects of drinking too much water.

Quite. Not really all that much to add to that, is there?

9 comments on “Equasy

  1. “Not really all that much to add to that, is there?”

    Not unless one wants to bring up “autocrasy”.

    But what’s the fun of doing that?

  2. New illegal drugs may have long term effects on brain chemistry. There is evidence Ecstasy causes, and prevents, Parkinson’s for instance. More research seems to be needed there.

    Riding horses does not.

    I also suspect that horse riding is more common than taking Ecstasy so a simple comparison of absolute deaths is not sensible.

    I have sympathy for TW’s libertarian approach but this article rests on a Harm Minimisation approach which is not necessary the only starting assumption to make.

  3. Horse riding more common than Ecstasy use? You must have contact with very restricted set of teenagers / young adults.

    Personally, (and I appreciate that the plural of anecdote is not data) I had one childhood friend died after having a horse fall on her and my son recently narrowly missed injury in a similar accident. None of my contemporaries, their children or my children’s friends or assorted associates have yet died from using E (or any other banned drugs). Several close encounters from alcohol abuse but that’s another argument.

  4. Surreptitious Evil // Feb 8, 2009 at 10:31 am

    “Horse riding more common than Ecstasy use? You must have contact with very restricted set of teenagers / young adults.”

    Perhaps. Except Britain has, from memory, three and a half million horses. Do we have that many late teens? Britain has more horses than ever before I have been told.

    “None of my contemporaries, their children or my children’s friends or assorted associates have yet died from using E (or any other banned drugs). ”

    Yet. And yet we don’t know what the long term effects of ecstasy are. They may be trivial, they may not be. Who knows. There are few good reasons for banning drugs, but that does not mean that there aren’t some reasons for doing so.

  5. Brian, (#4)…

    IIRC “Penn & Teller” sent a researcher to a big “Greenie gathering” who managed to get a large number of signatures on a petition calling for a ban of the dangerous chemical dihydrogen monoxide [1] on the grounds that a relatively small amount of it was able to kill you, it was used in the nuclear industry and however much you washed fruit and vegetables there was always some residue of this substance left…

    So, it’s been attempted already.

    [1] better known as H2O, water. 🙂

  6. I dont think the argument for banning ecstasy is solely due to number of deaths. It is socially irresponsible and promotes antisocial behaviour and lack of motivation towards the work ethic required to maintain the framework of society. Not to mention health damage/psychological damage years down the track after substance abuse has ceased. Horseriding however promotes responsibility and care of living creatures, requires a hardworking ethic to look after the damn things and gives young teenagers a friend to love and listen to their troubles without answering back! Once you stop horseriding your body can go back to its normal flabby self with no further risk of damage. So I think this argument is far too simplistic in its message that you are more likely to die from horseriding than from drug use…..

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