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Columnist's rush to defend a dangerous drug unwise...

January 03, 2004

Columnist's rush to defend a dangerous drug unwise

Regarding Lolita Harper's column "The rush will soon be over"

(Wednesday) on the statewide ephedra ban: Ephedra is nothing more

than legalized "speed" that sold on the streets.

It is a drug now banned in all four major professional sports, as

well as the Olympics and many other amateur sports. Chemically, it is

indeed related to amphetamines. Its manufacturing process is

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unregulated. The quality and content is therefore not verified by the

Food and Drug Administration.

The levels of potency indicated on the label may be less or may be

more than what is claimed. Hence the possibility for adverse,

life-threatening effects increase. Truly, it is a gamble each time

the user takes the drug.

Even though the dosage may be precisely followed by the consumer,

they may or may not be getting what they bargained for. Worse, they

could be getting much more than they bargained for. This would

certainly not be a matter of abuse if there are adverse effects.

Harper, you make red herring comparisons to other legal

substances, such as alcohol and food, that are abused. Well, here's a

comparison that holds a little more credibility: Methamphetamines, as

in "crystal," "meth," or "crank," etc. Those drugs, like ephedra,

give the user a speed effect, with more energy and stamina.

The manufacturing of those drugs is parallel to ephedra: They are

unregulated by the FDA. The level of potency is truly unknown. It's a

gamble each time the user takes the drug. The possibility for

adverse, life-threatening effects are very real. And like the

scenario described in the beginning of your article, it is bought in

"dimly lit alleys" at over-inflated prices. Lastly, when the user's

"stash" runs out (like your ephedra will, Harper), the user goes out

to find more.

Unfortunately, ephedra won't be going away anytime soon. Harper,

you need not worry about you or Aimee's "habits" coming to an end --

not unless you want them to, of course. The "black market" will now

take over. My prediction is there will be little or no difference of

the quality or quantity of product available. The price will just be

higher, and those that are selling it will likely offer a plethora of

other "pick-me-ups" to solve those fatigued, end-of-the-day workouts

-- and more.

Users of ephedra or any other "performance enhancing" substances

are certainly altering their state of consciousness and/or physiology

in order to get an extra "edge" or "boost" for themselves or over

their competition.

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