A recent article from the Independent came with the headline “Why does someone dying from alcohol poisoning get no media coverage, while an ecstasy-related death does?” The article went on to discuss various topics such as biases, Freakonomics, morality, and statistics, but the real answer is much simpler: it’s a sexier topic.
Don’t twist my words to make it seem like ecstasy death is sexy. It’s not. The topic is attractive because it’s such a taboo, as is anything in this world. Alcohol poisoning, as the article points out, does not get media coverage because 1) alcohol is legal, 2) alcohol poisoning is absurdly common, and 3) everyone knows someone who’s drunk a little too much. Their other example of injuries “equasy,” or riding horses, is not as common. But it’s not sexy, either.
Ecstasy deaths have the potent combination of being taboo, illegal, uncommon, and inflammatory. With reference to inflammatory, you need not look any further than the $6.9 billion industry most closely associated with ecstasy (or its variants): electronic music.
According to the Independent, “1 in 350 horse-riding episodes resulted in harm” compared “with 1 in 10,000 episodes of ecstasy use.” So statistically, ecstasy is technically safer than riding a horse. However it’s definitely more dangerous to ride a bike than it is to consume ecstasy, with your odds of being killed while riding a bicycle being 1 in 5,000. But the numbers are so conflated and meaningless that it doesn’t do much good. I’m willing to bet that more individuals take ecstasy on a yearly basis than those who ride horses; additionally, the level of harm is not disclosed. Horse riding can result in a number of injuries including sprained ankles, dislocated shoulders, and heavy bruising. The most common injury related to ecstasy is death.
The Independent article continues on to ramble about economics and entrepreneurship, but I’ll make it simple.
Ecstasy use is never safe. Even if it is “relatively safer” than another activity, it is never inherently safe.
However, there are ways to bring that “1 in 10,000” figure down. One that we keep coming back to is harm reduction and drug education, as opposed to classical drug fear tactics from organizations like D.A.R.E.
You might not like that an EDM site is focusing on drug use; and you might make the argument that writing about it is conflating the two issues, bringing further scrutiny upon our industry. In the short run, that’s acceptable. Nothing will be done if the issue isn’t brought up continually, and we’re willing to bite the bullet if it means safer legislation in the future.
Visit Amend The RAVE Act! for more information.