Iama the founder of DanceSafe, a harm reduction organization providing nonjudgmental drug information. AMA!
I am an activist, educator and harm reduction advocate. I founded DanceSafe in 1999 and started the first laboratory pill analysis program for ecstasy users that same year (now hosted at Ecstasydata.org), I helped pioneer MDMA harm reduction services in the United States. My MDMA Neurochemistry Slideshow has been viewed over 30 million times and remains a primary educational resource for physicians, teachers, drug abuse prevention counselors and MDMA users alike. I am currently producing documentary that explores the history and cultural impact of MDMA, highlighting its medical role in the treatment of PTSD and advocating harm reduction as a practical alternative to three decades of failed efforts at prohibition. Check it out here: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/mdma-the-movie
Thank you. I started DanceSafe when I discovered in 1998 that the Dutch government was providing drug checking services for users because the market was so adulterated. I was 30 years old and MDMA helped me (therapeutically) when I was a teenager. Having been a harm reduction activist for many years (needle exchange and prison reform work), I simply decided to myself, "I'm going to do this here. I have the organizing skills, and there is a need." My first rave was behind the DanceSafe booth. I came to love the community, even though I am still like punk rock more than electronic music. ;)
I'm a promoter in the Oakland/SF area that frequently works with your norcal chapter of DanceSafe (Hi Justin/Omega!)
What other alternatives have you explored in the sense of widespread awareness? Have you considered running a Youtube channel or something similar with weekly updates and content?
Funny you should ask. I am currently producing a film on MDMA, which will focus on harm reduction as well as therapeutic use. We have a youtube channel with lots of video clips already, and are realizing that the movie is going to end up being much more than a movie, but a website with tons of videos and information. In a way, I can see the film morphing into another organization, this one doing more political advocacy for rational drug policies. Check out our crowdfunding page to see some of what I'm talking about: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/mdma-the-movie
What drug do you think people take without knowing what they're getting into most often? My personal stance would be LSD, based on what I've seen.
And what I wanted to say, even though I have to ask a question: Thank you for advocating the safe use of these drugs. I've seen too many people carted out of festivals from ecstasy related issues and bad acid. I hope your name gets out.
LSD certainly can produce quite an intense psychological experience that surprises people for the first time. Not quite like DMT, but because it is so much more common, you are probably right that it is one of the most intense drug experiences that the general population takes and doesn't know what to expect. Part of harm reduction is helping people through bad trips. MAPS's Zendo project does a lot of this kind of work, as well as DanceSafe.
i had a terrible experience the first time I took acid, which I attribute to smoking weed during the onset, which often gives me anxiety attacks(increased heartrate, quickened breath, in a nice spiraling pattern) and I can see how if approached without caution, could lead to a terrible experience. But DMT, after my two experiences with it, seems like a substance that couldnt possibly induce a negative mindset. At least to me.
I've seen people have bad experiences on DMT, but you may be right. I think the LSD-marijuana combination may be the most precarious of all drug combos, and least to the most freak-outs. I've seen this happen to many people. Thanks!
First off, I think what you do is really neat. I'm not an advocate for or defender of drug use, but providing people a testing option is wonderful. People will do it, and providing a safer way is almost always the best solution.
My question is, what is the best part about what you do? And has anyone ever said anything really touching to you at an event?
What an interesting question! Let me start by saying that I resigned from DanceSafe in 2002, and only recently have gotten back involved as a volunteer, around the same time I started making my current documentary film on MDMA. So remembering back between 1998 and 2002, I would say the best part was all the support DanceSafe received when I was first starting it. People came out of the woodwork to help. It was incredible. At first I thought it must be my amazing organizing abilities (lol), but I quickly learned that really it was because of MDMA itself. So many people love this drug. It has helped people in countless ways, that when I was willing to speak the truth about it, acknowledging the benefits while also pointing out the risks, without hysteria or moral condemnation... that struck a chord. The same thing is happening now with my film. People have donated over $11,000 in the first four days of the crowdfunding campaign. This is heartwarming and a confirmation that people want to see accurate information and an end to the drug war.
Have you thought of some top down approaches for changing the way law enforcement and politicians look at MDMA?
Crazy story, I was in the military, blah blah, got out. Was a bit skiddish of fireworks. went to a few festivals on MDMA where fireworks were being shot off, totally changed my mindset.
Law enforcement attitudes are changing slowly. Unfortunately, politicians' attitudes are changing even more slowly. I think the PTSD epidemic among veterans is having a major impact, though. The incredible work MAPS is doing is paving the way for the approval of MDMA as a medicine. That said, it should be remembered that cocaine, heroin and meth all have approved medical purposes. So when MDMA is approved in 2021 (according to Rick Doblin that is the year), we still have a lot of work to do around drug policy reform surrounding the recreational use phenomenon.
If that's the case it's because of the inane, sexist, and highly disrespectful sidekick of Dr. Drew, whom I remember publicly embarrassing after he made derogatory jokes about rape victims.
Dr. Drew himself was great. I'm talking about his co-host sidekick.
First of all I would like to tell you that I think it's amazing what you are doing! I always had this opinion about drugs when I found myself with the help of drugs and didn't know it was shared by so many until i discovered DanceSafe and simular. Keep up the fantastic work!
Q: What is your opinion about the current drug regulation of countries like the Netherlands and Portugal?
Thank you Stroop! The Netherlands leads the world in rational, practical drug policy. Many people chalk that up to the fact that their country is below sea level and they have massive dykes to prevent it from flooding. Nothing like the imminent threat of danger make a culture practical. Portugal's decriminalization of drug possession is also a great step in the right direction. I should clarify that I am first and foremost a harm reduction activist, which means I don't believe all drugs should simply be legal and free with no regulations. We need to rationally regulate drugs to reduce harm. The problem is that total prohibition is actually zero-regulation.
What are some of the setbacks you've encountered in regards to being within the law and dealing with illegal substances? How has the popularization of "EDM" affected the growth of DanceSafe?
Well back in the early days when I was starting DanceSafe, I ran into surprisingly little resistance. One of the reasons, ironically, is that back then raves were mostly underground, and hence promoters were more likely to embrace DanceSafe and harm reduction. They wanted to do the right thing to keep people safe. These days, with the professionalization of the EDM industry, promoters and their insurance reps and lawyers are more afraid. Of course, this also has to do with the RAVE Act, that passed in 2003 (or was it 2004?), after I had resigned from DanceSafe.
I also have never met pushback from parents who lost children after taking MDMA or fake ecstasy. This needs to be said. Most poeple think that if you lose a child to a drug, you must become the most fanatical ant-drug person in the world. But this is not the case. When you lose a child to a drug, I have found, you do your homework. All the parents I have spoken to over the years who lost a child have supported DanceSafe and harm reduction.
What can college students do to help spread drug education and harm reduction on campus? I was a Students for Sensible Drug Policy chapter member in college, and one of the things we always tried to do was provide accurate and truthful information on drugs to students outside of the usual prohibitionist propaganda. I think it's incredibly important for students to have access to this information, as well as for the college to provide basic harm reduction to students instead of stigmatizing drug users.
Well you answered your own question! SSDP (and their spin off group, Amplify) are excellent organizations to get involved with. If there isn't one at your local college or university, you can start one. Check out their website and get involved. This world won't change unless we change it. :)
Perhaps it would be strategically sound to further emphasize harm reduction at universities. I feel as though sometimes the unsafe drug use that occurs at universities take a back seat as opposed to EDM events. Most of the crisis situations/ "what was in that?" experiences that I have heard of have been far away from the raves and festivals.
Indeed. This is a good point. For some reason I missed your harm reduction question and thought you were referring more to policy reforms. Yes, I agree we need harm reduction on college campuses. Who is willing to start that? :)
Hi, I'm a college student and like the rest of us commenters I applaud the efforts of you and your organization. I would have to say that my most prominent question for you would be would it be realistic to envision MDMA and other psychedelics becoming medicalized in the near future? Also, do you envision DanceSafe-like organizations expanding internationally, especially in areas that do not already have similar organizations?
MDMA is on track to be approved as a medicine in 2021. This is the year MAPS anticipates FDA approval, after the completion of the Phase 3 studies. I think there's no doubt it will be approved, given the preliminary results of the Phase 2 studies. The way it will be approved is that therapists will be licensed to administer it to patients under strict protocols. It won't be like marijuana, where you can get it at dispensaries. As such, medical approval does not eliminate the adulterated, illicit market. We will still have lots of work to do politically even after medical approval.
Could you perhaps elaborate on the political side of our work?
Harm reduction is political by its very nature. You just can't get around that. Whenever you do something that challenges existing laws, that's political. What I have always said is that I started DanceSafe in order to make it obsolete. There's simply no way, without major drug policy reforms (decriminalization and regulation) that we will ever be able to reduce the majority of fatalities and medical emergencies. It's an uphill, never-going-to-win battle for a private charity like DanceSafe to do. Without government programs like the Netherlands, without rational policies at the state and federal levels, we will always have this terribly dangerous situation around drugs. And make no mistake... even with proper regulation and laws, there will still be harm reduction to do. There are always risks to drug use, even if there are no adulterants on the market and you know your dose, etc. So there will still be a need for harm reduction. But it would be immensely preferable to the situation we ahve today with prohibition (which means zero-regulation and an illicit, criminal market).
So would you say that the way to get through the politics, much like harm reduction itself, would be through education? Because I am quite interested especially in the political and legal side of harm reduction.
It's always about education. And as long as you are interested in the political side, I'll tell you the three principles I have used all my life to effectively educate with the goal of making real political change. The first is...
Always see your adversaries as potential allies. This means don't take a hard line stance against anyone. Don't assume they are going to be against you. Whether it's DEA agents, parents, etc. You will be surprised how many times a perceived adversary is actually an ally, and how many adversaries will become allies when you speak to them authentically.
Rally your allies first, before trying to convert your adversaries. This will help you hone your language, and at the same time build a movement. It will increase your confidence. So when you organize politically for change, go to your allies first. (Get sponsors for your bill before you start arguing with your opposition). And...
Provide your allies with arguments and talking points to convince your adversaries. It's not enough to just rally your allies. Real change is made when, through an open democratic process, we can shift the opinions and understandings of the majority. Difficult? Yes. But it has to happen. We won't ever be able to force our point of view on others. Even if were' in a majority (and we are in the case of harm reduction and drug war issues), we still have to be able to speak to our opposition in a language they understand. That, of course, means understanding where they are coming from too. Most resistance to drug policy reform comes from the fear parents have for their children. So that needs to be addressed. It's a real fear, too. Legitimate. I have a teenage step-daughter. So I understand the fear.
Hope that helps! :)
Thank you for everything you've done.
Have you had any trouble with anyone trying to take legal action against anything you do?
No. I thought in the beginning at first I would end up in court defending myself like needle exchange programs had to do. I even hired a needle exchange attorney in the Bay Area before I began pill testing. I was absolutely convinced (and waiting for it) I would be arrested and put up a good fight in court. But it never happened. I and other DanceSafe volunteers have tested tens of thousands of ecstasy tablets over the years and nobody has ever been arrested. I think there's a sort of "don't ask don't tell" relationship that exists between law enforcement and harm reduction workers. Law enforcement knows it's important, and they don't want to stop it. Heck! They often have kids who use drugs! Or they use drugs themselves.
What are the most common adulterants you're seeing in pills lately? What percentage of pills tested (roughly) have some kind of adulterant in them?
First, I don't work for DanceSafe anymore, and the lab program I started has been run by Erowid at Ecstasydata.org since 2001. So I'm not seeing anything personally. That said, I have been deeply involved over the last year again because I am producing a documentary on MDMA that is going to highlight the effects of prohibition on the market. So I've spoken to a lot of people. In short, it's a difficult question to answer given a lack of a real emerging drugs monitoring program in the US. They know more in Europe, where the laws allow more sophisticated onsite drug testing (typically with thin layer chromatography machines). DanceSafe test results, like PillReports.com results, use reagents, which are much less reliable. And Ecstasydata results are skewed somewhat because it self-selects for bunk pills. HOWEVER, I would say that a rough estimate is that perhaps 20% of the pills and powder in the US right now is actually MDMA. Most of it is methylone and other cathinones. I do think the ratio of MDMA is increasing however. This comes from information UK investigative journalist Mike Power told me. There have been new precursors recently discovered to make MDMA, which are not controlled. This is leading to more pure MDMA on the market. A good thing? Depends. We are seeing pills come out now (like the UPS pills) with enormous doses in them, up to 275mg! Adulterants or not, prohibition causes these problems.
I must start with a personal thank you for what you have done in your work over the years and how important I think harm reduction is to our society. My question is how would you go about implementing harm reduction models for school in teaching students how to responsibly use drugs without necessarily advocating their use?
I've spoken in schools before. I think the most important thing is just to be honest. I remember the high school kids asking me if I ever used Ecstasy and my reply was, "Of course! How could I stand here and think your going to listen to what I say if I've never used it myself." I think the biggest problem is the stigma. Even many harm reduction workers who have been doing this work for years still harbor a sense of shame (or at least fear of condemnation) over the fact that they use or have used drugs. The first thing is to get that shame out of your head if you have it. That just plays into the regressive, drug war mentality. The truth is that acknowledging you have used drugs, just like acknowledging that drugs have benefits, IN NO WAY is advocating their use. As a harm reduction activist, I leave advocacy for the doctors and psychologists when it comes to MDMA. Of course, that doesn't mean I won't talk about the medical and therapeutic benefits of MDMA. Of course I have to talk about it. It's the truth, and what teenagers are going to listen to us about the risks and harms if we aren't willing to acknowledge the benefits.
Once you realize this, the only next step is honing your language. There's a certain language of harm reduction that is needed to be able to speak about drugs without advocating. It's not difficult. It's just little things. Like you never say a drug is "good" or "bad." All drugs have risks and benefits. Stuff like that. With time it becomes natural.
As for implementing programs in schools, I think that's a harder task, because it is about convincing administrators that harm reduction education is effective. There's a lot of evidence that proves it is, but drug war culture prejudices people. Good luck!
Why do you think the government and event organizers like disco donnie are so hell bent on not allowing test tents at events?
Good question. It's not the fault of the promoters. It's the fault of drug laws like the RAVE Act, which expanded crack house laws to apply to commercial venues. This piece of regressive legislation allows promoters to be prosecuted if they "maintain a drug involved premises," which is an ambiguously-defined phrase which frightens promoters. They fear that acknowledging drug takes place at their events will open them up to criminal prosecution. But of course the only way to reduce drug-related harms is by first acknowledging drug use happens. And it happens at rock concerts, folk music concerts, and every other type of nightlife. In fact, singling out raves and electronic dance music is false. Statistics show there are just as many medical emergencies stemming from other live music events like Rock shows, but the media seems not to report on those as much.
Are there any reported cases of people making knock off pills of things on dancesafe and people ingesting with false confidence?
Not sure what you mean by "things on DanceSafe". Can you elaborate?
Presumably thinking about pillreports or ecstasydata
Oh I see what you mean now. Copycat pills have been a problem even before I started the laboratory analysis program. Unscrupulous manufactures, to maximize profits, will copy pill shapes and colors all the time when they get a good reputation. Even the same manufacturer will release bunk pills of the same design after they have released a batch of pure MDMA pills.
Are you still involved with dancesafe? What made you leave if not?
I resigned from DanceSafe back in 2002 and moved on to do other things. I have recently started volunteering again but am mostly working on my documentary these days. Check it out here: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/mdma-the-movie
Hello Emanuel. Thanks for making this movie. Seems like an important step in the process of getting MDMA legalized (at least for therapy). I'm a DanceSafe volunteer through the Visionaries program (for more info about this and how to become a member too click here). I also do volunteer work in the Netherlands for Unity.
My question is related to this last point. I'm not sure how much you know about the issue, but I was wondering this. What are your thoughts on the white heroin issue in Amsterdam that killed at least 3 tourist? Luckily it seems to be over now.
Adam Winstock (from the Global Drugs Survey) was asked the same questions and this was his answer.
Wow. I could not reply better than Dr. Winstock. What he says is brilliant. We are planning on interviewing him for our documentary. I have been a follower of the Global Drug Survey for a long time.
Sorry for the short reply, but really anything I said would pale in comparison to Dr. Winstock's perfect answer. I encourage anyone reading this to click over to it and read it. :)
We're currently having a discussion about this in /r/mdma - a few people say your brain levels (serotonin, dopamine etc) are back to normal and good to roll again after a week. I personally think it takes much longer for your brain to recover.
What is your take on this? How safe is rolling and how much time should you give your brain to really recover? And why is that?
Edit: oh btw: just donated 25bucks for mdma the movie!:) I know it's not much but as a student that's all I can miss haha.
Excellent question! Serotonin is produced in the body through a multi-step process beginning with tryptophan-containing proteins. (Contrary to popular belief, tryptophan is in more than just turkey.) Whether you can replenish your serotonin in a week depends on many factors, particularly diet and genetics. So really it differs between people. There's no standard, but I think it's probably somewhere between a week and two weeks, given user reports. No real way to measure it, of course. The thing to remember is that evolutionarily, we were not meant to release our serotonin all at once, and so it's a slow process of rebuilding it. This is good in one sense. It means MDMA is not highly addictive. You simply can't take it on a daily basis and achieve the desirable effects. You have to put time in between uses. Meth is a dopamine releases by contrast, and because dopamine is replenished almost instanteneously, you can just take more and keep the high going, making meth a drug with a high addiction potential.
Also, it must be remembered that tolerance build-up for MDMA involves much more than just depleted serotonin. There is post-synaptic receptor down-regulation, as well as neurotoxic effects that will, over time, cause long-term tolerance. So again remember that less is more with MDMA, and put as much time as you an muster between uses. As Aristotle said, "Know thyself and moderation in all things." :)
Oh and thanks for contributing!! Every little bit counts. :)
Which countries do you think are doing the BEST job with drug policy and which countries do you think are doing the WORST?
I believe that what Portugal's government has done was a great decision as they allowed scientists - and not politicians - to decide how to tackle their drug problems. I live in the UK and here the government seems to view drugs differently.
I agree with you. We will be highlighting Portugal and the Netherlands in our documentary and juxtaposing their successes with the continuing failures of the US and the UK (and Australia).
Thank you, I posted a link to your Indiegogo video in /r/drugs a few days ago - I hope you get all the funding you need. More people need a better understanding of MDMA!
Thanks! Very much appreciated. :)
DanceSafe sells Mandelin reagent which is a good ketamine testing reagent. And they will soon be coming out with Ehrlic's reagent too, that can distinguish between LSD and 25i-NBOMe, the latter of which is killing lots of people.
I Once watched a documentary on MDMA (I think produced by Drugs.Inc) and they talked about what goes on in your brain after taking it. While there were many interesting things they talked about, there was one thing in particular that really stuck with me and i wanted your opinion on it.
Keep in mind that i watched this years ago so i will do my best to reiterate.
In the video they talked about how the brain is divided into two halves: The Mathematical Left side, and the Artistic Right side. During our everyday lives there are thousands/millions of processes and connections happening on both sides of the brain.
Now during the time in which the MDMA is taking it's effect, they noticed how the connections on the mathematical side of our brain began to slow down, and thus you begin to start processing more of your surroundings with the Artistic side of your brain.
Now when i heard this, it made a lot of sense (to me). It would better explain why colorful lights and music sound so amazing, because your processing them with the artistic side more so than the mathematical.
Whats your opinion on this? Are they right?
I haven't heard of this, and it strikes me as pseudoscience. Not that it isn't true, but it's probably quite simplistic. Check out this article about Dr. Carhart-Harris' MRI studies, the first of their kind I believe, which shows what areas of the brain are active while on MDMA: http://www3.imperial.ac.uk/newsandeventspggrp/imperialcollege/newssummary/news_17-1-2014-11-35-46
That said, I certainly agree that the last thing one wants to do on MDMA is solve math problems. :)
Thanks for the link, i will give it a read.
Heres another question maybe you can answer for me that i have been trying to figure out. A friend of mine uses MDMA in moderation (He says about once every 2 months, but no more than once a month). However he went to a festival during the summer and it was his first time using the substance two days in a row. The first day was fine like usual for him, but the second day when he began to feel the effects, he noticed his temperature was rising and he began to overheat even though it was night time, cool out, and he had not been dancing much. He got so hot he had to lay down with his shirt off for about 20 minutes and eventually he felt fine. This was the first time i've seen him like this so it worried me.
But now he says that ever since that day, whenever he uses MDMA his body begins to get really hot as the effects kick in and even after going back on his "once every two months" cycle. It's at the point where he simply just goes outside 20 minutes after taking the substance because he knows its going to happen.
What could be the cause of this? does his body reject the substance now? Why does his body temperature get hot for a short period of time before going back to normal and him being fine?
EDIT: Hes always good about drinking plenty of water and making sure his body is well nourished with vitamins and food before events.
Sorry if its long winded. As his friend i felt the need to find an answer for him since he talked to me about it awhile back.
You know, normally I would say this is just your friend worrying now because he had an overdose experience that frightened him (remember you still have MDMA in your system the next day, so taking it two days in a row definitely increases blood concentrations). However, there could be something physiological going on. Inflammation can and does change the way the body reacts to things, and it is not impossible that his overdose episode has conditioned his body now to react this way. There's really no way to know for sure what is going on. But I would say that any abnormal rise in temperature should be cause for serious concern, as this is primarily what causes MDMA-related fatalities, and they are typically not overdoses when it happens.
To clarify this somewhat, if you take enough MDMA, you can overdose and die. This has happened, and when it does, the symptoms look just like heatstroke. The body overheats (hyperthermia). The organs shut down. There is seizure and death. This would happen to anyone if they took enough MDMA. So overdosing induces hyperthermia. You would not call this "heat stroke" because the outside temperature had nothing to do with it.
Now compare this with most MDMA-related fatalities, which are NOT overdoses. The first thing you will notice is they look exactly the same. The person has a hyperthermia reaction, organ shutdown, seizure, etc. In these cases it is more reasonable to call the death "heat stroke" because the environment (outside temperature) usually played a role. HOWEVER, and this is the important point... there could be something else going on too, that makes some people more prone to heat stroke when taking MDMA or other stimulant drugs. Very few people die after taking a normal dose of MDMA, and those who do don't seem to be engaging in abnormally different behavior as others who also go to raves. So why does it result in death in this small number of cases?
What we know is MDMA inhibits the bodies thermo-regulation. This makes a person more likely to overheat when in hot environments. This is a small risk, but when it happens it can be fatal, so it's a serious risk. It could be that some small percentage of people are more prone to this. And it could be that your friend is one of these people, or that his overdose experience (doing it two days in a row) has changed his physiology in such a way that he is now one of these people. That's serious. That is something he should contemplate. If he overheats every time he does MDMA now (and if it's not just a panic attack), he may want to stop.
Hope this helps!
Wow thanks for your imput! I really appreciate it. I'm going to link this to my friend so he can read it later and think about everything you said :)
But its really interesting that you bring up the term heat stroke. And with that i would like to bring up one more question if you might give me the time.
He mentioned to me, and i forgot about this earlier, that sometimes when he high on MDMA, usually in the beginning, he says his arms begin to feel tingly, almost like they arent getting enough blood flow.
Now he does not wear much in the way of kandi, but when he begins to get this feeling, he takes what little he has off because he says it helps a little bit.
BUT now that you mentioned heat stroke, i'm beginning to think this feeling of his as a sign of that. I've been told that when you have a heat stroke that body parts begin to go numb. Is this true? opinions? I figured i would ask this now since he wont be able to ask you later.
Yes tingling and numbness is one of the symptoms of hyperthermia or heat stroke. It could very well be his body is just getting too hot. He should seriously do a risk-benefit analysis at this time.
I know that these days there are many different things you can get in the pills you buy. But in a perfect world where every pill is pure, what is considered a safe dose? Is there a website that might have information about that?
If my friend decides (even after reading this) that he is going to pop at tomorrows event, i want to propose that he take a safe(-r?) amount and see if his symptoms change. Hes about 5' 10" and weighs like 195lbs (Bulky guy)
A therapeutic dose of MDMA is anywhere between 80 and 125mg. Users with high tolerance from repeated use often take more. There is no 100% "safe dose." Even a normal dose can cause problems in some people, and especially if they are in hot environments, dancing aerobically, etc.
Thanks for the advice! i think he normally takes 2 capsules (probably advertised as 200mg. If he decides to pop tomorrow i will see if he would consider taking 150mg and seeing if he overeats again.
Once again thank you for all the time you spent talking to me :) I intend to help you with your movie next paycheck. looking forward to seeing it :D
You're very welcome. And please share the link with others! :)
Just wanted to Say THANK YOU. you have saved myself an friends more than once from danger. Since my last post was removed, Do you think the darknet has helped safety? I know I saw more news reports in mid 00's about bad and fake pills going around, and now it seems large producers are being held to a standard. I know its a double edged sword question, with the other side being availabilty, but it seems quality has really taken the drivers seat.
To piggy back again, what do you think of 300mg presses coming out, since we can only test for substance not amount?
Great questions. I'm really psyched that Uk investigative journalist and author of the book, Drugs 2.0 (Drugs Unlimited for the US edition), has joined our production team. He is hands down the world's top expert on the dark web and how it has impacted drugs and drug culture. It's a really interesting phenomenon. I think time will tell what impact it has on overall safety, but really I think the lesson in Silk Road and other similar sites is that if ever we thought we could stop the spread of drugs, we should now be totally convinced of its impossibility. This ease with which people can now purchase drugs online really ought convince politicians that decriminalization and regulation is a necessity. There is simply no way to stop the phenomenon. And while there will always be psychonauts our there who want to try out new, untested drugs to see what they do, the vast majority of people are just looking for the classic highs such as LSD, mushrooms, and MDMA. If we decriminalized the classic psychedelics (with well known safety profiles) we would dry up the RC market by perhaps 80%. Psychonauts would still be able to get them, but young people would not be accidentally ingesting them because they bought it from some unscrupulous dealer selling it as "Molly."
And the 300mg UPS tablets and the like? Another result of prohibition. Shame on those producers. Don't they realize they are overdosing people? But we really have to blame prohibition. What do we think is going to happen when we create an unregulated, illicit market?
I'm on mobile so I may have missed this question already being asked.
I know that for some big festivals (particularly insomniac events) they haven't been able to bring you on site. I believe it's because they believe they'll be targeted more by law enforcement if they have reduction group. What's the current state of dancesafe and massive festivals? Think it will change in the near future?
I'm no longer working for DanceSafe, so to get the real details you'd have to speak with Missi or Mitchell at the national office. However, I think generally the problem is the RAVE Act, which is a piece of federal legislation that can hold promoters accountable if they "maintain a drug involved premises." The language is so vague that is frightens promoters from allowing harm reduction services inside, hence putting their patrons at a greater risk of harm. One mother of a girl who died is trying to get the Act amended to exempt harm reduction. Check it out: http://www.amendtheraveact.org
What is your favourite type of pie?
A virtual cream pie in my face if I answer your question seriously. :)
What pre/post-loading supplements should I use to reduce the harm from an MDMA session?
Why do you think music affects us so much under the influence?
How do I get a therapeutic effect out of MDMA? Should I make a list of questions before taking it? Should I talk to someone while I'm high? Are there any recommended procedures in order to reach a therapeutic effect?
I suffer stress and anxiety, and I am planning to use MDMA and LSD in order to understand myself and solve these issues. Once I take these drugs, what should I do?
5-htp is the best supplement to help a person replenish their serotonin after taking MDMA. L-tryptophan won't work, because the MDMA knocks out a key enzyme in the metabolic ladder. But 5-htp is above that enzyme on the ladder, so it will work. A word of caution though... taking 5-htp will help restore your serotonin more quickly, but it should not be use din replacement for moderation. It tempts people to take MDMA more often (because it shortens the hangover in some people). Taking MDMA too often will make it lose its effect, and increases the risk of depression in people predisposed to depression.
Music is always better when you are in a better mood, right? :)
As for obtaining therapeutic benefits, it is always good to have an intention when going into any drug experience. Many people use drugs just for the pleasurable feelings it gives, but doing this with MDMA, to me, is kind of sad, because you miss out on the drug's real benefits, which are therapeutic. So yes, planning on engaging in personal conversations about emotions and relationships, or whatever your intention, before you do it, and doing it in a safe, controlled environment (rather than a big party), will maximize the potential for insight. This kind of "benefit enhancement" advice, by the way, I believe is even better at reducing harm than strictly "harm reduction" advice. I believe we really need to create a culture of responsible drug use if we are to prevent the kind of abuse we are seeing, with MDMA and other drugs. So let's teach people and ourselves how to use drugs safely, to obtain the maximum benefits.
Your last question seems way too broad to me. Can you ask it in a different way?
Thank you very much for your answers, I really appreciate your help.
I'll rephrase my last question: I want to see if MDMA and LSD can help me to solve my issues, mainly anxiety, stress and lack of attention. Let's say I buy the gear and 5-htp, I expose clearly my intention before taking the drug ("I want to understand why I do this or that, blah, blah"), I take the drug, put on some relaxing music (could you suggest some tracks for a therapeutic environment?), wait for the effects, and then what should I do next?; should I write what is coming in to my head? Should I think about the past? should I talk to a psychologist? What actions are taken during therapy under the influence?
If your anxiety and stress are related to PTSD, top past trauma or to things you can talk about... the kind of things that people try to work out in therapy, then MDMA as part of a therapy process (professional or amateur with friends even) can be extremely helpful. However, if your anxiety and stress are genetic or biological, as they seem to be with many people, then it is doubtful MDMA will help. It might reduce the stress during the duration of the experience (and there's a chance it might get worse, so be careful), but it will most likely come back again when the experience is over. LSD even more so is unlikely to help with generalized stress and anxiety. Other than that, I can just reiterate that with MDMA, the therapeutic potential is mostly in the thinking and talking. You have to actually engage with your issues.
engage with your issues
I'm not too sure how to engage with my issues, is this about an analysis till I get a new way of understanding my issues? I guess that means remembering past experiences, noticing the feelings and thoughts, and trying to see what the missing piece is. What does a person do to engage with issues?
You're on the right track I think. I'm not a psychiatrist or doctor. Sounds like you might need more expert advice in that domain.
Before I ask my questions, I just wanted to say that what you started is fantastic. I remember learning about DanceSafe and similar organizations in school, and you've truly done amazing things, helping so many people. Ok. Question time.
What was it that made you start DanceSafe, and what made you leave? Are you still involved in anyway with the organization, or any other similar ones?
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