September 7, 2003

BIDEN LIED, FREEDOM DIED: A study relied on by proponents of Joe Biden’s dumb “RAVE Act” has been retracted under circumstances that look a bit dodgy to me:

A leading scientific journal yesterday retracted a paper it published last year saying that one night’s typical dose of the drug Ecstasy might cause permanent brain damage.

The monkeys and baboons in the study were not injected with Ecstasy but with a powerful amphetamine, said the journal, Science magazine.

The retraction was submitted by the team at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine that did the study.

A medical school spokesman called the mistake “unfortunate” but said that Dr. George A. Ricaurte, the researcher who made it, was “still a faculty member in good standing whose research is solid and respected.”

The study, released last Sept. 27, concluded that a dose of Ecstasy a partygoer would take in a single night could lead to symptoms resembling Parkinson’s disease.

Sheesh. I’ll really trust what these guys report in the future. There’s more on the story here.

UPDATE: Andrew Stuttaford writes:

Fair enough, mistakes can be made – and one negative finding is not enough to call a drug safe – but can we now expect the drug warriors to publicize the fact that this particular risk has been massively overstated – or would that be expecting too much?

I suspect it would. Perhaps we should run a commercial showing people injecting monkeys with the wrong substance, and featuring the caption: “This is what it looks like when you have drugs on the brain.”

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