There was an interesting small piece in the metro today:
"Ecstasy does not impair the mental abilities of those who take it, a new study funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse in the US claims. In contrast to previous studies, it used volunteers who weren't substance users or ravers. It said Ecstasy does not cause cognitive impairment - provided it is uncontaminated."
There wasn't even a headline to it, just in a small box sandwiched between a story on being able to tell an unhealthy lifestyle from your skin in just two minutes and a picture of a model. No maybe this is my natural cynicism towards the press but I can't help thinking that if this study had come to the opposite conclusions then there would have been a sensationalist headline about how the drug warps the mind of the users.
I'm not saying that this is conclusive evidence that the drug is safe and I note that they authors emphasis that their findings are not the same as concluding the drug is risk free. However it helps to fortify my own position in my mind which is that people should be allowed to make their own decisions on the substances they take with the supply regulated, the study highlights that illegally made pills can contain harmful contaminants and this is where most of the danger lies. Personally, my opinions are always based on freedom of choice grounds but I think this is one drug that would lead also lead to direct health improvements if it was supplied through similar channels to alcohol/cigarettes.
A bit more on the study can be read here where there is also a link to the actual study.