Friday, June 19, 2015

Emergency Doctor Calls for legalisation of MDMA

So a Wellington based ED doctor has created a controversial storm by daring to suggest that pure MDMA should be legalised in NZ:

John Key unconvinced by emergency doctor's call to legalise MDMA

Ecstasy tablets contain MDMA, though they usually have a mix of other ingredients too. Pure MDMA remains rare in New Zealand.


 His rationale? Well according to Dr Paul Quigley, an emergency medical specialist and toxicologist, pure MDMA is actually one of the safest intoxicants around and significantly safer than alcohol which is not only a known carcinogen but its abuse is also responsible for many ED admission on Friday and Saturday nights.

I have to say that personally I entirely agree with him. When party pills first came on the scene in NZ there was a public outcry. Naysayers predicted kids would die with overdoses and there would be chaos as drugged kids went out of control. What actually happened was the total opposite. When large rave parties initially happened there was a large contingent of police and medical services present...and they were pretty much bored out of their brains. The kids were on mood enhancers, out for a good time and a good time they had! Sure there was the occassional OD when inexperienced people mixed drugs or combined it with alcohol but once the effects became known Friday and Saturday night alcohol related call outs plummeted and with it a massive reduction on police, ambulance and hospital resources.

Fast forward 10+ years and party pills have been banned in NZ. The kids have reverted back to alcohol and the violence and associated call outs have returned. Dr Paul Quigley has been outspoken on this topic, witnessing the carnage first hand in his ED. With the banning of party pills, all sorts of drugs are coming out on the black market as kids seek out their weekend fix. His argument that legalizing and licensing MDMA would fix this issue definitely has merit and I for one would be supportive of such a move. I have seen too much destruction with alcohol, even amongst colleagues. What are your thoughts?

Friday, May 29, 2015

Air Bags

So I went to a minor motor vehicle accident which occurred at fairly low speed. There were no injuries thankfully but one of the cars appeared to be full of smoke. I promptly called the fire brigade who dutifully turned up, opened the doors and let the 'smoke' out. It turns out the 'smoke' was just a talculm powder cloud that had been released and had filled up the car when the air bag deployed.
This got me thinking. If the powder had filled the car enough to appear it was full of smoke, how would that affect a patient inside who had inhaled it? According to manufacturers the air bags are inflated with harmless nitrogen gas but they do use talcum powder to lubricate the bag. In theory this shouldn't be toxic although breathing that much powder into your lungs in an enclosed space is bound to cause some respiratory problems. Then I can across this news story

Killed by an airbag: Husband in minor crash got pneumonia after breathing in 'noxious' gases and powder when the bag burst

Now I am no toxicologist but it now has me wondering about the effect that clouds of powder may have on both rescue workers and patients? What are your thoughts?