"At present MDMA enjoys the greatest growth potential among all illicit
drugs. I believe that MDMA will either gain de facto tolerance, or
'marijuana-like acceptance' to the larger society or will undergo a hostile
'LSD-like' rejection. The next 24 months will be decisive . . ."
Factors favouring acceptance:
1. Declining salience of the 'drug abuse problem'. Since 1985, the
proportion of Americans citing drug abuse as the number one problem has
declined steadily. This means that it would be difficult to open up another
front in the war on drugs. To wage war on MDMA will require that public
outrage be whipped up once again, . . . that people not of the 'criminal
type' be jailed.
2. Low incidence of adverse reactions. Millions of uses result in only a
handful of serious problems being reported. The dearth of MDMA horror
stories leaves opponents without the ammunition needed for a campaign of
3. Articulate proponents. Unlike users of heroin or 'crack', many MDMA
users are from the educated middle class who go on to obtain high
qualifications and influential jobs. They will provide strong opposition to
4. Harm prevention campaigns. These will further reduce the number of
mishaps, and thus the number of horror stories.
Factors favouring rejection:
1. Tendency for more use by people who are less educated and have more
personal problems. This is likely to produce more adverse reactions, thus
lowering the reputation of the drug.
2. Increased use in rave setting in more likely to produce adverse
reactions. Use late at night among strangers in harsh surroundings is the
opposite to the 'ideal setting' recommended by cognoscenti: well rested,
during daytime in a calm environment with a few trusted friends.
3. Media coverage distorting problem. A few spectacular mishaps out of
millions can mis-educate the public into believing the drug is more
dangerous than, say, alcohol.
4. Puritanism. Deeply embedded cultural hostility to pleasure and idleness
may be aroused by the behaviour of MDMA users.
Newmeyer concludes that he is certain that by June 1995 there will be a
striking swing in public attitude oneway of the other.