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[Contents][Appendix 1]
[Reference 90][Reference 92]

E for Ecstasy by Nicholas Saunders
Appendix 1: Reference Section

91 Interview with Detective Chief Superintendent Tony White, head of the drugs and money laundering branch of the National Criminal Intelligence Service, which is under the control of the Home Office. At Spring Gardens, London 19/2/93
The drugs and money laundering branch of the NCIS collects and disseminates information for both the police and customs. White spends a large part of his time abroad coordinating activities with the police and customs officers of other Governments.

Over the past year there has been a 60% increase in the number of seizures without any increase in the number of doses seized (144,000), implying that the police were picking up dealers nearer the consumer end of the distribution network.

White gave me a copy of a chart from the winter 1992/3 edition of Drugs Arena, a glossy magazine published by the NCIS that is distributed exclusively to drug law enforcement officers. The chart showed seizures of MDMA, MDA and MDEA since 1990. He says that periods in which there were few seizures of MDMA saw increased seizures of LSD, indicating that LSD and MDMA were alternative drugs used by the same group of people.

I asked whether police policy varied according to the dangers of the particular drug, and what the policy towards Ecstasy was. White, who emphasised that he could not speak for the police, replied that policy for action against drugs was largely "political" in the sense that enforcement efforts against drugs had to be weighed against other interests such as education, health and community relations. Many drugs were associated with particular ethnic groups and the police had to weigh up the damage that might be caused to their relationships with these groups against the desirability of preventing use of such drugs. However, there are no such problems with Ecstasy, so police action is unfettered. The police response to particular drugs does not depend so much on the precise dangers of the drug in question as on the perceived public concern about the drug. Commander John O'Connor of the Metropolitan Police says in a recent report that the policy of arresting dealers has largely failed, and suggests going for the users instead. White gave some support to this idea by saying that dealers would find no market if there was no demand.

Asked for his predictions of future trends in Ecstasy supply and use, White said that British developments would depend on what happened in Holland. I asked what the effect on British Ecstasy users would be if the Dutch tightened up enforcement of their laws relating to MDMA. He replied that, in the short term, there would be a further rise in amphetamines being sold as Ecstasy and in the use of LSD and in the longer term, more manufacturing of MDMA in Britain. I asked whether that would be a good thing, and he replied that there was no easy solution: "It's like a war," he said. However, there was now effective international control of precursor chemicals. He also told me that anyone convicted of supply has all their assets confiscated unless they can prove other sources of income.

White says he believes it is a myth that Ecstasy users are a separate group from those who use addictive drugs. He says that once a market for any drug is established, users will switch to any other drug including addictive and dangerous ones. He also believes that dealers mix addictive drugs in with MDMA in order to get clients hooked. The best advice, he says, is "just don't do it".

Factories are set up in Britain and in Holland, typically by middle-aged English criminals who have been to prison several times for such offences as armed robbery. Dutchmen are also involved.

White says police action is misunderstood when it comes to stopping raves, as the use of drugs is a very minor motive. The reasons are, in order of priority, (1) Public safety. (2) Public order. (3) Public Nuisance. (4) Use of drugs. He believes that very little drug dealing goes on at raves, because Ecstasy "takes about 4 hours to have its full effect" and so users take it before they arrive at the rave. [In fact MDMA, MDA and MDEA reach their full effect within about an hour.]

[Contents][Appendix 1]
[Reference 90][Reference 92]
E is for Ecstasy by Nicholas Saunders (
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Spiritual use of psychoactives book by Nicholas Saunders