26.4 C
Byron Shire
January 29, 2022

Editorial: MDMA, festivals, and you

Latest News

Dr Kerry Chant COVID-19 stats update for January 21 to 27 and local update

NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant gave her weekly COVID-19 stats update this morning during Premier Dominic Perrottet’s press conference.

Other News

Vaccinating koalas against chlamydia

Koala chlamydia affects 60 per cent of koalas that are admitted to the Currumbin Wildlife Hospital and is having a significant impact on koalas in the region. The figures have continued to rise each year.

Alcohol free zones extended in Ballina Shire

A group of theoretically temporary alcohol-free zones in Lennox Head, Alstonville, Ballina and Wardell have been extended until 2025, despite rumblings of discontent from some Ballina councillors.

NRAS about to kick off 2022 adoption days

Local animal charity Northern Rivers Animal Services has kicked off 2022 with a bang, with more cats, kittens and puppies needing homes in Ballina than you can shake a rescuer at.

Richmond Valley Council Citizen awards

The contribution made to the Richmond Valley community by its citizens was recognised on 26 January through a range of awards and most particularly through the award of Citizen of the Year and Young Citizen of the Year. 

Validity of a visa

As a 90-year-old, I have travelled many years since I was 18 years of age; to America, the UK...

Far North Coast Comedy

Lots of comedy to laugh out loud at

Hans Lovejoy, editor

Hello, young and impressionable person. Wassup.

With many of you coming to the area to enjoy Splendour in the Grass this week, let’s talk about something perhaps your parents, teachers, and preachers have not broached – drugs!

It’s something to consider while you amble past the festival’s massive booze barns on your way to see your favourite act.

So – MDMA, or as it is also called, ecstasy. Its chemical name is 3, 4-methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine.

We rely on governments to make informed decisions about drug harm-minimisation laws, yet they actually do the opposite.

It’s unclear if those who write bad laws around drugs want young people to die as an example to others. So far, that’s been the result. These politicians – National and Liberal Party politicians mostly – also have connections to the big pharma, booze, and tobacco industries. It’s a big exclusive drug club.

Tragically, 19-year-old Alex Ross-King died from a drug overdose at the FOMO music festival in Parramatta last January. Her family are pleading for pill testing. There have been other recent deaths at festivals too, and they are the subject of a NSW coronial inquiry.

The Coroner has been reported as saying that the presence of police at the festival appeared to be a direct cause for Ross-King’s decision to ‘double dose’ or ‘double drop’. That is, taking more than one pill at once. It’s something counsel assisting the inquest, Peggy Dwyer, said was a common occurrence.

So at the very least, an amnesty bin at festival entrances is desperately needed, so that punters don’t freak out at the cops and swallow unknown pills, thus endangering their lives.

If the government cared about your wellbeing, they would introduce pill testing and amnesty bins like they have in Europe.

Is MDMA safe? Yes, if taken moderately and in a pure form, just like heroin. Pure MDMA has therapeutic benefits, particularly among people with PTSD, depression, and other behavioural issues.

The Godfather of MDMA is Dr Alexander Shulgin. He wrote a book with his wife Ann in 1991 called Phenethylamines I Have Known And Loved (PIHKAL). It details a number of the author’s ‘trips’ on various psychedelic compounds. He died at 88 after what appears a long and healthy life.

The same goes for Swiss scientist Albert Hoffman, the inventor of LSD. He died at 103 and had no detectable health issues after exploring psychotropics for decades.

If you still want to experiment but are not prepared for a life as a psychonaught scientist, it’s best to try a small dosage of any pill first, and be very careful from whom you buy it.

And ask your local state and federal politician what they are doing about pill testing and amnesty bins. Politicians need to be held to account for their lack of duty of care in this area.

It’s human nature to experiment, no matter what ignorant politicans say. Mushrooms, peyote, iboga, and ayahuasca have all contributed to human evolution, and when done in a safe environment, it can open the doors of perception.      

Have a safe Splendour and don’t believe the mass-media hype!

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


  1. “Is MDMA safe? Yes, if taken moderately …” says the article.
    What addict takes drugs moderately?
    What addict takes drugs moderately?
    The crime rate is exacerbated by addicts breaking into houses and bashing people to buy drugs.
    I had a father once, he is now dead.
    He was a cigarette smoker … 80 cigarettes a day, every day.
    At work he had three cigarettes going. One in his lips, a bumper behind the ear, just in case the cigarette he had went out, and another lit cigarette glowing with smoke rising from it on the bench … just in case.
    He died from nicotine poisoning of the heart.
    Cigarettes are legal and can be found in any supermarket.

  2. I couldn’t agree more Hans!! I think it’s time for all the over 40’s & 50’s who take MDMA ,once a year, to no ill effect, to stand up and say we need the drug laws changed and pill testing introduced.

  3. If drug policies were most concerned about our well being and applied principles of harm minimisation then:
    – the right of people to do as they will up to the point they cause harm to others and the environment would be acknowledged
    – there would be age, driving, and public place restrictions applied to drug use
    – all drugs would be legal, regulated, and taxed
    – revenue from drug taxes would be used to reduce harm caused by drugs

    This would
    – Prevent the harm being inflicted on drug users by the law
    – Eradicate the costs of policing drug prohibition
    – Reduce the potential for drugs to be dealt on the black market
    – Provide support to people who are adversely affected by drugs
    – Allow drug users to access drugs which are free of toxic byproducts and in known doses

    Current drug policies exacerbate harm and are not focused on our well being.

  4. Honest article Hans, and there should be more like this. One thing you have missed though with this article, is that so much of what is getting around portraying to be MDMA or ecstasy (which should be MDMA) actually isn’t and contains so many other potentially lethal chemicals, that as we have already seen, many times, all it can take is just one pill or cap for someone to die. While yes, we do need to introduce pill-testing (which should really be called drug-checking) because more MDMA is sold in various forms in caps these days than in pressed pills. While MDMA tested can obtain other drugs such as cocaine, ketamine, methamphetamine, over-the-counter cough medicines, and most dangerously, synthetic cathinones, there are a whole swag of other dangerous drugs found in MDMA these days too, such as fentanyl, PMA (paramethoxyamphetamine), which is far more toxic at lower doses than ecstasy; N-Ethylpentylone, a cathinone which is also lot more potent than MDMA making it easier to take too much and NBOMes (N-methoxybenzyl), which is extremely toxic and at way lower doses than any other hallucinogenic drugs. Many of these other drugs can cause heart attack, renal failure, and stroke and death. But an even bigger issue than what is in the drugs, is all the other factors that can come into play when someone takes a drug such as MDMA, and yes, just one pill/cap of MDMA can kill some, take Anna Woods for instance, who died after she consumed just one pill. Alcohol, heat, exhaustion, not enough water, too much water, underlying health conditions, so many things can add into the mix what makes this drug fatal for some and not for others. But as was seen at the very first Australian drug-testing trial at Groovin The Moo, 84% of people who had their pills tested thought they had bought MDMA but only 51% actually contained ANY MDMA. Taking ANY drug these days is very hit and miss as to whether you are actually taking the drug you think you are. We need to change the laws here in Australia. We need to start seeing recreational drug use, as a health concern, and not just make it all about criminality and policing. We need better funded and more open harm-reduction services, right at the places where the risks are the highest, at festivals, where up to 90% of patrons WILL take drugs, and where so many will become ill, have overdoses and potentially die from some contaminant that is not the drug they thought they were taking, or from double-dropping or taking 10 in a night (which many do) and the myriad of other factors that can lead to deaths by drugs at festivals. We need to reduce police numbers at festivals, to stop people from taking ALL of their drugs as they enter and see the police and the drug dogs ahead of them. We need to bring in more medics, more harm-reduction and AOD workers, we need to have pill-testing and we need a nation-wide education campaign, designed to give genuine facts, and not just scare tactics, or the kind of ridiculous abstinence stance that our Premier Gladys insists on, in her irresponsible “just say NO to drugs” attitude, which has never worked. Prohibition has always failed, and it has certainly failed when it comes to recreational drugs at festivals. Yes, it is a shame that in Australia, festivals are ALL about the drugs and the alcohol, as this is not the case the world over and it is a far worse situation in Australia than any other country. Australians are the largest drug users in the world, and we have the most archaic laws and regulations about drugs, which is the real killer. Bring in drug law reform, legalise and decriminalise a whole stack of recreational drugs, and allow for us to educate young people openly and more importantly, honestly, and let’s start to save lives, instead of burying so many young people who die, because right now they have no legal way to determine what drugs they really are taking, nor hear what the real dangers are from people who really do know, front-line harm-reduction workers, chemists and AOD workers, who are all on stand-by waiting to help deliver drug-checking services at festivals!

  5. Lest not forget the natural herbs that most of these “street drugs” come from…
    Even the legal herbs, left available/legal can create an awesome effect! (If prepared appropriately).
    Unfortunately, the great ones have been banned.
    As has the proper education.
    Yet, if our children experimenting, or grown ups still wanting to feel different… knew of the Originals?… they may not even have a need to alter themselves “synthetically”…
    No “come downs” is possibly a starting point!?
    As parents, and guardians we can learn, therefore educate…✨
    (And potency is up to the creator).
    Wisdom in BOTH fields, is absolutely necessary!
    Safe travels… ?

  6. I suggest this partial solution to the drugs-at-festivals health problem:
    Offer at the entrance of every festival FREE drugs with a government guarantee of purity and strength.
    That would quickly wipe out the entire black market.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Richmond Valley Council Citizen awards

The contribution made to the Richmond Valley community by its citizens was recognised on 26 January through a range of awards and most particularly through the award of Citizen of the Year and Young Citizen of the Year. 

How depression makes people vulnerable to misinformation

A US study has found that people suffering from depression are much more likely to believe misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines.

Countbacks or by-elections for Ballina?

Cr Rod Bruem's first appearance in the Ballina Council chamber saw an attack on ALP candidates who narrowly failed to win seats in the recent local government election, with the councillor claiming it would be undemocratic for a countback to include 'rejected' Labor Party candidates if another councillor was unable to serve during the next 18 months.

Community building and disaster resilience

If you’ve ever wanted to be a volunteer, the Community Carers and Responders might be where you can lend a hand.