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Ecstasy, Alzheimer's fear raised by minister June 24 2003 By David Wroe, Andra Jackson
The escalating use of ecstasy and other drugs by young party-goers could create a generation of Alzheimer's patients in years to come, the Federal Government said yesterday.
The warning came as a conference was told that at least 7 per cent of Australian teenagers, and almost one in five people in their 20s, had used ecstasy.
Parliamentary health secretary Trish Worth said the growth in use of psychostimulants such as speed, ice and ecstasy was now the biggest challenge facing drug authorities.
"It may be having quite serious impacts on the brain and there may be an avalanche of people in the future with Alzheimer's disease as a result," Ms Worth said at the Canberra launch of Drug Action Week. "We don't know for certain, but that is one of the theories."
Ms Worth's comments were backed by National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre spokesman Paul Dillon, who said several studies had suggested a link between ecstasy and Alzheimer's, though these were far from conclusive.
Brain imaging scans showed similarities between the brains of heavy ecstasy users and those of people in the early stages of Alzheimer's, he said. However, people used in the studies probably used a range of drugs, so it was too early to pinpoint ecstasy as the sole cause.
A conference in Melbourne, meanwhile, was told that Australians were over-reacting to the party drug phenomenon. David Crosbie, chief executive of the rehabilitation program, Odyssey Victoria, said drug initiatives should focus on providing better information to reduce harm.
"It's an incredible over-reaction that adults start throwing their hands in the air and saying 'Isn't it horrible that kids are using these drugs?' as at the same time they are going out and getting drunk on a Friday, Saturday night," Mr Crosbie told the Victorian Party Drugs Symposium.
"Of course we need to do things to try and reduce the harm that the kids are experiencing but let's not say there's this huge drug epidemic that's capturing our kids."
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare's 2001 National Drug Household Survey, at least 7 per cent of Australian teenagers and 19.7 per cent of people in their 20s have used ecstasy.
Natalie Russell of the information group RaveSafe told the symposium: "Every weekend in Melbourne, hundreds of people are using ecstasy, speed and other amphetamines and party drugs... It is definitely growing and there are more and more young people coming into the scene as well."
Quote: "It may be having quite serious impacts on the brain and there may be an avalanche of people in the future with Alzheimer's disease as a result," Ms Worth said at the Canberra launch of Drug Action Week. "We don't know for certain, but that is one of the theories."
They could say the exact same thing about drinking water that has florine added. I can think anything I want... just because I think it is might happen, doesn't mean anything. Lets apply the scientific method before using science to scare everybody. The guy being quoted actually said it best:
We don't know for certain
Right... so why toss out hypotheticals, to the general public, that have no bearing on anything... I could see if there was at least a single study that might indicate a trend, but they have zero causality to base these claims upon.
-------------------- Just another spore in the wind.