Cate Faehrmann: Why a lawmaker admitted to taking MDMA [*]
Australian Cate Faehrmann may be the world's first politician to admit to having used the illicit drug MDMA. The reaction in Australia, and globally, has surprised her, she tells Gary Nunn in Sydney.
Ms Faehrmann's admission, made in January, has come amid a fierce debate about introducing "pill testing" services in New South Wales (NSW). Five music festival-goers have died from suspected drug overdoses in NSW since September. It has prompted passionate calls for action - but state lawmakers are divided on what should be done.
Ms Faehrmann, 48, from the Greens party, argues that her opponents have a "limited understanding of the people they're needing to connect with". She says she has taken MDMA (known as ecstasy when in pill form) "occasionally" since her 20s. "I'm sitting here as a politician with more experience than anyone else in the building," she says, adding: "Maybe not - maybe I'm the only one being honest."
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian is opposed to pill testing. She has said that "no evidence [has been] provided to the government" that it saves lives, and that testing would give drug users "a false sense of security".
[*] MDMA: 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine:
3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), commonly known as ecstasy (E), is a psychoactive drug primarily used as a recreational drug. The desired effects include altered sensations and increased energy, empathy, and pleasure. When taken by mouth, effects begin after 30–45 minutes and last 3–6 hours.
Cate Faehrmann, Gladys Berejiklian. Also check out: DanceSafe.
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(Score: 4, Touché) by Runaway1956 on Friday April 12 2019, @05:15PM (13 children)
So, uhhhhh, some stranger approaches you, and offers you something that you can't positively identify, telling you that it will make you feel good, and you take the stuff. Isn't there a special Darwin Award category for this kind of thing?
Don’t confuse the news with the truth.
(Score: 3, Touché) by DeathMonkey on Friday April 12 2019, @05:30PM
Nah, I survived college just fine thankyouverymuch.
(Score: 3, Insightful) by Snow on Friday April 12 2019, @06:39PM
That's kind of how illegal drugs work.
It's not smart, but sometimes you have to live a bit.
(Score: 0, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 12 2019, @07:19PM
Says the fool who buys food from the store without bringing his mass spectrometer to test for heavy metals and pesticides!!
Go home little runaway, it is time.
(Score: 2) by RamiK on Saturday April 13 2019, @01:51AM (9 children)
Unless you're a chemist or on a first name basis with the owner of your local neighborhood pharmaceutical company, it's always a stranger handing you a substance you know little about and telling you it will make you feel good.
I would even argue taking such a random substance is more "informed" than taking a doctor's prescription. Since, between the doctor, pharmaceutical company and the researches, there's so much information loss, misinformation and too-much useless information for you to process that "it will make you feel good but you might go crazy" is often the better informing description.
(Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Saturday April 13 2019, @02:12AM (1 child)
There are a few differences though. The chemist in the local drug store is licensed. Of course, one drug store may be more conscientious than another, but they actually have college behind them, and years of training. The drugs from the drug store generally come with sheets, indicating what they are, potential side effects, etc. If my prescription doesn't come with a sheet, I can ask for one, or I can look it up on the internet. I can be reasonably confident that the chemist is actually selling me what the label says.
If you grew up with your drug supplier, and he promises that the package he hands you contains Product X, then maybe you can trust him. If you have never met the guy before, what recourse do you have when your cannabis turns out to be oregano, or whatever? How do you know that your oregano doesn't have some other chemical added, to give it an extra "kick"? How do you know that some middleman didn't cut your stuff, and add some filler to make extra profit? And, what was the filler?
I'll "trust" the chemist much further than I'll trust some street pusher, thank you very much.
Don’t confuse the news with the truth.
(Score: 2) by fritsd on Saturday April 13 2019, @07:38PM
Years ago, I read that Amsterdam youth gangs would buy a loaf of peperkoek [wikipedia.org], slice off the sticky dark brown skin, compress it a bit, and sell it to gullible drunk tourists as hash.
At least that wouldn't be poisonous (assuming the tourist isn't allergic to gluten or a diabetic, as peperkoek is extremely sweet).
(Score: 1) by khallow on Saturday April 13 2019, @01:49PM (6 children)
Anything is arguable. I think you should be providing a higher standard than that.
Which is still better than the information loss of the "random substance" transaction with no legal repercussions for misinformation between non-existent research, drug growers, and the dealer actually selling the product to you.
(Score: 2) by RamiK on Sunday April 14 2019, @04:54AM (5 children)
The premise of both yours and Runaway's reply is one of legality and authoritativeness. Surprising considering both of you typically take the anti-regulatory stance... Regardless, the issue for me is that I just don't believe I have a chance in hell to win a case against big pharma and I know they are aware of this and will release bad drugs to the market while exploiting every loophole in the laws they themselves dictated to the legislators following decades of lobbying and regulatory capture as well as their well funded legal departments.
As a result, I'm comparing two products from two different parties: A multinational conglomerate that can battle in courts for decades and get away with murder by releasing drugs solely based on their ability to maintain relevant IPs and a local neighborhood pusher that is persecuted by law enforcement and depends on their good name to survive both as a businessman and as a free individual that attempts to produce and sell the cheapest possible drugs that won't kill their customers.
Odd thread overall.
(Score: 1) by khallow on Sunday April 14 2019, @05:45AM (2 children)
I disagree. Ultimately, it's a matter of consistency of product. Take unknown drugs from someone who has no reason to provide a consistent product with predictable reaction - primarily because the dealer won't see the customer again, means that you get just that. As noted earlier in the recreational drug example given, there's no reason to expect even the same mix of ingredients from pill to pill, much less a consistent effect from taking those pills.
Meanwhile, a prescription medicine comes from an identifiable source. Most of the time the customer is likely to use the medicine again. So there is considerable value to the manufacturer to provide a consistent experience which mostly does what the medicine is claimed to do, even in the hypothetical absence of regulation.
(Score: 2) by RamiK on Sunday April 14 2019, @07:28AM (1 child)
Only if the consumers -i.e. the doctors- collect and follow up on field data. The COX-2 inhibitors case proved not only they don't and it takes a fairly random third party researcher to conduct a whole new trial to discover it coincidentally, but that even if it's found dangerous, the regulators (in the US) won't step-in and remove the drug from the market so long as the patents are still in-effect. And of course, no court case could pass if the regultar doesn't acknowledge the danger despite the science being recognized globally.
There been other examples as well. Fentanyl I believe is the most recent in-your-face example where even if we have all the information in the world, very little gets done in the face of powerful regulatory capture.
And don't forget the counter example: ~50 years of false Marijuana claims and studies were promoted due "identifiable sources" and yet no one is being punished for the millions put to jail, billions of wasted tax dollars and all the harm the "safe alternatives" (a.k.a Fentanyl) caused.
Overall, we're living in an extreme example of Milton Friedman classic case against the FDA [youtube.com] where when a person spreads misinformation and blatantly lies they get away with it and even get elected for President while regulators almost always act solely for the benefit of their future and past employers and rarely in favor of the public. As a result, if you read a dozen news pieces from reputable sources telling you something is safe or unsafe and one anonymous poster telling you the opposite, if the money leans towards the majority there's a good chance the majority are lying and the one anonymous guy is telling the truth.
I believe it's what they call Fake News. Only when they use it they're typically lying.
(Score: 1) by khallow on Sunday April 14 2019, @01:04PM
Or the people putting out bad product on the streets for the past 50 years.
(Score: 1) by khallow on Sunday April 14 2019, @05:46AM (1 child)
Only if they survive the lawsuits. Even in a purely regulation and lawsuit-free environment, they will get a bad reputation.
(Score: 2) by RamiK on Sunday April 14 2019, @07:06AM
This [amazon.com] came out in '05 and since we've seen hundreds of lawsuits and as many scandals and they're still going strong.