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Street drugs are medically useful - sometimes

Sometimes drugs that are illegal turn out to have legitimate medical applications. The government must then decide what to do.

It took decades for lawmakers to acknowledge that there are medical uses for marijuana. The matter is resolved in some states, but the federal government still believes pot is criminal in nature.

(Georgia has not decriminalized marijuana but many counties statewide now offer alternative sentencing programs for offenders, swapping jail time for drug treatment.)

The same kind of acknowledgment may now be occurring with the notorious street drug methylenedioxymethamphetamine - also known as MDMA, and even better known as ecstasy.

All about ecstasy

Ecstasy is a recreational drug associated with dance parties and trance music. Users say that ecstasy's effects include increased empathy, euphoria, emotionality and hypersensitivity.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has just designated MDMA as a possible breakthrough drug posttraumatic stress disorder -- PTSD.

PTSD is known to develop following exposure to some traumatic event - being assault, witnessing violence, suffering from a serious car crash. Victims experience bad dreams, dark thoughts and negative emotions. It is often described as psychologically crippling.

Studying MDMA and its effects on people with PTSD could result in an important treatment against a very troubling problem in our society.

The new designation does not mean ecstasy is legal. But it does allow scientists to continue to examine and evaluate the drug's efficacy.

When street drugs are seen as beneficial in some circumstances, that means the laws are likely to change or loosen. You can be sure that Philip Kim Law is tracking this issue, and using this knowledge to protect our clients' rights.

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