Ecstasy Safer Than Peanuts
A New Scientist editorial titled “Drugs drive politicians out of their minds” begins with an interesting thought experiment:
IMAGINE you are seated at a table with two bowls in front of you. One contains peanuts, the other tablets of the illegal recreational drug MDMA (ecstasy). A stranger joins you, and you have to decide whether to give them a peanut or a pill. Which is safest?
You should give them ecstasy, of course. A much larger percentage of people suffer a fatal acute reaction to peanuts than to MDMA.
I hasten to point out, however, that the safest course of action when a stranger walks up to you and you have bowls of peanuts and illegal psychoactive drugs is to say, “Would you like some peanuts?”
If they’re old enough to be at your party, they’ve presumably ascertained whether they’re allergic to peanuts and will decline if they are. Or if they don’t like peanuts. Or aren’t hungry.
In no case should you offer strangers illegal psychoactive drugs. For one thing, doing so is, well, illegal and could land you in jail. For another, many people would prefer not to have their brain chemistry unexpectedly altered when in the company of strangers.
With that out of the way, I agree with the substantive point of the article and with the points raised by Alex and Ron about the tendency of politicians to act as if they’re taking some bad drugs when making policy decisions about drugs. As regular readers know, I’m generally in favor of it being legal for adults to put whatever they want into their bodies so long as they’re not endangering others.