Videos Provide History, Science and Harm Reduction Information
Washington, DC–(ENEWSPF)–May 3, 2017. Today, the Drug Policy Alliance released four videos that provide information about MDMA, cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine. Each video is approximately two minutes long and informs the viewer about where the drug comes from, its history, and best harm reduction practices for anyone who may choose to use the drug.
DPA believes that to effectively promote real drug education and safety, one must understand a drug’s effects (both positive and negative), why people use it, as well as its potential risks and benefits. Many drug education campaigns fall back on scare tactics or oversimplification, sending the message that drug use is a uniform phenomenon with straightforward causes and solutions, and provide little context about a drug’s history. Yet honest information is key to preventing problematic drug use. This includes making a distinction between the harm that can be caused by the substance itself and the harm caused by drug war policies.
“Formal drug education often ignores the history of how and why a drug was discovered and who used it before – and after – it was prohibited. We believe that people should be offered balanced information to make their own choices and ensure their own safety – whether they choose to remain abstinent or not,” says Stefanie Jones, director of audience development for the Drug Policy Alliance. “These videos aim to present straightforward, factual information that give you greater context about each substance.”
DPA worked with Dr. David Simmons, a board-certified physician, to present the information. For example, in the video about heroin, Dr. Simmons says, “One critical safety measure is to discourage someone from using alone. This is one of the reasons that a growing number of health experts are advocating for safe consumption facilities, where people use heroin under medical supervision.”
DPA also recently produced thorough fact sheets and media tip sheets on a number of commonly-misunderstood substances:
- Psilocybin Mushrooms
- MDMA (“Ecstasy”, “Molly”)
- Synthetic Cannabinoids (“Spice”, “K2”, etc.)
- Synthetic Cathinones (“Bath Salts”, “Flakka”, etc.)
- Fentanyl and Synthetic Opioids
In addition, DPA maintains dozens of additional well-cited fact sheets on a broad spectrum of drug policy issues, for use by members of the media, academics, advocates and others.
Drug Policy Alliance Blog
MDMA, Cocaine, Heroin & Methamphetamine: Watch DPA’s Drug Fact Videos, By: Stefanie Jones, May 3, 2017
Alcohol and other drugs are inevitably part of our lives in some way, sometimes whether we like it or not. Despite their ubiquity, when you scratch the surface there’s often a lot that people don’t know about how individual drugs work, why they’re illegal (or not) – and especially about how to stay safe if they choose to use a substance.
The Drug Policy Alliance is working to change that, so we produced a series of four short videos about MDMA, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine.
Our current system of drug classification sets up a simplistic and inaccurate dichotomy:
legal drug = good & safe
illegal drug = bad & risky
Formal drug education often ignores the history of how and why a drug was discovered and who used it before (and after) it was prohibited. We believe that people should be offered balanced information to make their own choices and ensure their own safety – whether they choose to remain abstinent or not.
DPA’s drug fact videos aim to present straightforward, factual information that give you greater context about each substance.
In the MDMA video, we break down the persistent – but wrong! – belief that “molly” or “ecstasy” is always MDMA. Because of prohibition, what’s sold as “molly” or “ecstasy” may or may not contain the drug MDMA. We remind viewers they ought to test their substances with drug checking kits to get a better idea of what they may have.
In the cocaine video, we highlight that coca leaves, from which cocaine is produced, have been used for thousands of years as a mild and nutritious stimulant, and that cocaine itself was marketed as a “wonder drug” placed in many products as recently as the early 1900s.
In the heroin video, we let people know that actually, most fatal overdoses involve heroin AND some other drug, pointing out the risks of mixing substances. We also remind people that overdoses can be reversed with naloxone – the sooner you can administer it, the better.
In the methamphetamine video, we show how similar this drug is to the prescription medicine Desoxyn, used to treat severe obesity, narcolepsy and ADHD. Pharmaceutical amphetamine is also available under a number of brand names, most notably Adderall. We point out that people who use this drug are often heavily stigmatized, which can make it harder for them to ask for harm reduction advice or treatment.
Getting basic information and harm reduction tips into two minutes is a big challenge! If you’re eager for more, we have more in-depth information about these and other substances on the Drug Facts section of DPA’s website. Knowledge is power – on both a personal and political level. Please watch and share these and let us know what you think. Maybe we’ll make more…
Stefanie Jones is the director of audience development for the Drug Policy Alliance.