Legal highs: the dark side of medicinal chemistry”, by David Nichols of Purdue University’s pharmacology department, has hardly been published in the prestigious science journal Nature [469, 7 (2011)] and it is already fully exploited for the usual drug war scare tactics bringing anything to do with psychoactive compounds into relation with pure evil - ‘reefer madness’ over and over again [I found some on Yahoo ‘science news’ but I am not going to link to such crap].

What is so funny about it this time that I bother? His whole article is about that he feels his publications have been “used for negative ends” – for crying out loud – what irony!

People synthesized the molecules he published about and made them widely available for citizen science, the safety of which is proven by how few people got harmed. Considering the vast number of people who explore such research chemicals and then considering that those who encountered problems took several substances at once or huge amounts or were probably just having a heart attack or stroke from dancing, basically close to nobody got hurt at all:

“six deaths had been associated with the use of MTA. It did not help that I knew some of these fatalities were associated with the use of multiple drugs, or had involved very large doses of MTA. I had published information that ultimately led to human death.”

6 my friends, six, once more: VI ! Whoooaaaa – dangerous! As usual, they probably just died for completely unrelated causes, but since they had a little MTA in them, bang, that must have been it. Cause of death: EVIL DRUGS!

Now Nichols could have written a good piece about how legalization would make yet safer substances available so that people do not need to buy research chemicals in the first place, or how drug education would make the whole issue much safer for all of us, for example stopping people from fast, multiple dosing, or again how partial legalization would make dosing much more reliable, chemicals cleaner and so on … .

But no – he had to, after just coming to grips with how his publications may have been “used for negative ends”, publish an article written so badly that it is amazingly easy to be “used for negative ends”, namely for yet further increasing the misinformation and irrational fears of the gullible public.

In order to make his point, whatever his point is (there is none as far as I can see), he uses a stupid beyond belief thought experiment imagining some substance with some sort of crazily super-long-term (like years after ingestion) irreversible side effect like substances almost never have, especially not such substances as we are dealing with here:

“what if a substance that seems innocuous is marketed and becomes wildly popular on the dance scene, but then millions of users develop an unusual type of kidney damage that proves irreversible and difficult to treat, or even life-threatening or fatal?”

Dear Professor Nichols – such would never become widely popular on the dance scene! You have apparently not the slightest clue about the ‘dance scene’ apart from what fox news portrays it to be. It is proof of your absolute ignorance to write

“Although the testing procedure for 'safety' that these people use apparently determines only whether the substance will immediately kill them”

The ‘scene’ that is into exploring psychoactive research chemicals is made up of responsible, intelligent, educated people who are experienced with how to handle novel substances in a responsible, scientific way as wise men like Sascha Shulgin have taught and proven safe beyond doubt.

Thank you Professor Nichols for giving us yet another prime example of a scientist who is so concentrated on his own little pet subject that on anything else involving a wider context he is just too darn naïve to be trusted.

Nichols, thank you for your research, sincerely, we all, that is thousands of people, had and have a lot of insight with your substances that we would not have been able to otherwise legally come by, but please do not get into the habit of writing ‘World View Column’ pieces for journals who feel obliged to publish such drivel due to your status.

Trust me, Nichols, you are bad at it! Read some of the pieces that have been spawned by your article and learn. Your text is bad already, but what has been made out of it in the media is disgusting, and this time it is in fact your fault. A media savvy scientist does not ever write like this in a world where media routinely rip citations totally out of context!