Q: What is this site?
A: It's a privately run site that
focuses on information about the drug MDMA ('ecstasy'). The site's
mission is to reduce the harm caused by drug use and drug laws through
you might guess from the content, there is no connection between this
site and any government agency.
Q: TheDEA? WTF?
A: Once upon a time in the age of Reagan when the Drug War
had become a spectator sport, The Thing To Do was burning mountains
of seized drugs on TV. During one such occasion (shown on the nightly
news) a pack of men wearing jackets emblazoned with "DEA" danced
around a huge pile of burning marijuana, grinning like jackals. Obviously,
these were some passionately Drug Enjoying Americans. As
a joke it was modest, but as a domain name it was perfect: Short, memorable...and
not taken. And of course, likely to piss off people without a sense
of humor, which is an end in of itself.
Q: Don't you worry that you might be promoting drug use?
A: No. My belief is that consenting adults have a
right to do as they please with themselves so long as they don't harm,
endanger or annoy others in the process. My only specific goal in terms
people's drug use is to try to educate people of the risks as well
as the benefits with the hope that they will exercise some moderation
and care. I wholeheartedly reject the idea that drug use is wrong,
or that people should place the opinions of distant bureaucrats above
their own careful judgment. Screw the government. These are the people
that categorize marijuana as being as dangerous and addictive as heroin;
they are not competent to have an opinion on recreational drugs, much
less dictate private behavior to their betters at gunpoint. Deification
of the law is a character flaw; an excuse for evil and weak men
to not take responsibility for their own lives and actions. That something
is illegal does not make it wrong, nor does something being legal (as
slavery was) make it morally acceptable.
Q: Am I going to get in trouble for coming here?
A: Absolutely not. Drug information sites have been running
openly for many years, and have never had their readers harassed by
law enforcement. And why would they be? Wanting to learn more about
a drug certainly isn't illegal. Even the 'other' DEA has
been known to drop by. :-)
Q: Sometimes you call it 'ecstasy', sometimes MDMA.
Aren't they the same thing?
A: Ideally, yes, but when dealing with the black
market drug supply, an 'ecstasy' pill may have contained any number
of things. Because of this, when discussing things like studies of
drug users I use the indefinite 'ecstasy', since I can't be sure how
much of their drug supply was really MDMA, pure, etc.
or any other mechanism to identify or follow users. The Forums use
a cookie to remember your login if you use that option. The site's
log files do gather the 'standard' information, which amounts to "a
computer running Windows XP and Internet Explorer 6.1 requested such-and-such
pages from the IP address of such-and-such." Server
logs also report how a user reached our site (ie. 'from Google', 'from
a bookmark', etc.) These server logs are used only to gauge
the overall level of traffic, where it comes from, and to find dead
links. Living humans never even look at the raw data, and we will not
share the logs in part or whole with anybody for any reason.
Unless you have taken specific efforts to remain anonymous (such as
the use of anonymous proxies) you should assume that any statements
you make online can be traced back to you if law enforcement is determined.
Act accordingly; do not discuss ongoing illegal activity online.
Q: So...why should people trust what you have to say?
A: They shouldn't. They should consider all
sides of the argument, look at the evidence and research, and make
up their own minds.
Q: The information given on TheDEA.org doesn't always agree
with other drug sites. Who's right?
A: In all likelihood the other site is incorrect,
but all large works have errors; you presume upon my infaliability
at your own peril. If you have a particular question, feel free to e-mail me
or you can post general drug questions on the Dancesafe or
Bluelight discussion boards. In
some cases an apparent difference
of opinion is simply the result
of a difference of context/author intent.
Q: Are you a doctor/qualified to give medical advice?
A: No. My educational background mainly involves killing lab
rats, not saving humans. While my opinions on MDMA ('ecstasy') and
drugs in general are considerably more informed than those of the average
man on the street, I am not formally trained or licensed to diagnose
or treat any human illness. Take or ignore my advice at your own risk.
Q: Where do you get your information?
A: I draw my information almost exclusively from the original
scientific research. Well over a thousand professional articles have
been written about MDMA ('ecstasy'.) I've read almost all of them.
Where I don't get my information is from secondary sources such
as the evening news, Oprah, friends, etc. I don't trust anything that
I can't go to the original source on. This web site has extensive foot
notes, so if you wish you can read the original research yourself.
Most documents are available on-line.
Q: Why create another drug information site?
A: I felt compelled to share what I knew about MDMA (there's
a lot of bad information out there.) As far as why I didn't just write
for one of the excellent existing sites, in a word: Freedom. When you
work for somebody else, you have to fit into their politics, their
personalities, their interpretations of research, etc. Here I can do
and say anything I please and be judged only by the marketplace of
ideas. The price is a lack of support; working for another site I wouldn't
have to pay for hosting and would have an instant reader base, but
for me editorial control is much more important. This way, I don't
have to sell anything, carry any ads, link to anybody I don't feel
is deserving or anything else. No compromises, no outside interference;
editorial dictatorship in its purest form. :-) It takes a certain
personality type to wake up in the morning believing that you can change
the world through sheer force of will, and we don't like to compromise.
That said, if you have a suggestion, complaint, etc. I would more than
happy to hear it.
Q: Who pays for/supports this site?
A: I do.
All costs are out-of-pocket. Under no circumstances
will commercial ads ever be allowed, which I believe
are in tremendously bad taste and harmful to credibility. A self-respecting
drug information site isn't trying to line anybody's pockets.
Q: What about credits and copyrights?
A: If no copyright or reference is given on an article/writing,
I am the author. (Images used in discussions of research are often
from the cited research.) Most photographs are courtesy of Mark;
if you want to use one of them, ask him. If you would
like to copy or post parts of this site elsewhere, I just ask that
you include a notice of where you got it from.
Q: What's the big deal with glowsticks
A: Well, since you ask, glowsticks are powered by a simple
redox reaction that radiates electromagnetic energy in the visible
spectrum. <girlish squeal of joy> OK, maybe not everybody enjoys
them the way I do. If the question is 'what is it about ravers and
glowsticks', glowsticks are just one of those simple pleasures in life.
The colors are
interesting, it's a diffuse light source so it's easy on the eyes,
and the whole thing is cheap and disposable. While it's fair to say
people on MDMA are enjoying glowsticks more than the sober people are,
there's nothing particularly special about them...they've fallen in
and out of favor in different times and places. There's also a very
practical side: Raves tend to be poorly lit, and a glowstick gives
you your own little navigation beacon and light source so people can
easily see each other coming.
In New Orleans in 2001,
glowsticks were declared "illegal drug paraphernalia" by
the local government and the operators of a local club that sold glowsticks
arrested under "crack
house" laws. As no remotely sane person thinks glowsticks cause
drug use, I take such cases as further proof that drug prohibition
was never about stopping drugs; it's about trying to punish socially
'undesirable' groups (such as young adults that like to go to clubs
and listen to loud music.) They may not wear bed sheets anymore, but
the prohibitionists are the same people that would have been marching
in KKK rallies a hundred years ago...that dark underbelly of humanity
that fears and hates what it doesn't understand. The drug laws are
little more than the last socially acceptable form of lynching, as
evidenced by the vastly disproportionate numbers of minorities arrested
and imprisoned on drug charges, as well as the orders-of-magnitude
more brutal sentencing for 'minority drugs' like crack vs. the powder
cocaine of white middle-class conservatives like President Bush.
Brief History of TheDEA.org:
TheDEA.org began as a vague tickle of an idea in the
spring of 2002. It was informally announced on New Year's day 2003
with a rant posted
to Dancesafe. The domain name was
registered a few weeks later and web space secured. The last of the
originally planned material was finished and uploaded July 16, 2003.
A new set of 'button' graphics went up in January 2004. At the
start of 2006, a discussion Forum and Audiovisual section were added. Work is ongoing, but at a much slower pace than
during the initial phase of content creation.