Riding a Horse is Vastly More Dangerous Than Taking Ecstasy
Ben Chu, the Economics Editor for The Independent wrote a brilliant editorial about variance in psychological biases towards different activities, framing the argument with the huge gap between the likelihood of suffering harm from riding a horse versus taking MDMA.
"Six years ago the [British]Government’s chief drugs adviser, David Nutt, alerted us to a frightening addiction called “equasy”.
Equasy, as Nutt described it, was a pursuit that released adrenaline and pleasurable endorphins into the brain. It was also extremely dangerous, often fatal. Nutt reckoned that around one in every 350 usages of equasy resulted in acute physical harm. Worse still, this was an addiction that had in its grip tens of thousands of people across Britain, including small children.
Equasy was horse-riding. Nutt’s point was that, objectively speaking, riding a horse is a far more dangerous hobby than taking little MDMA pills, or ecstasy, in nightclubs. While he calculated that 1 in 350 horse-riding episodes resulted in harm, that was only the case with 1 in 10,000 episodes of ecstasy use. And yet ecstasy was a Class A banned drug and the object of great waves of concern from the media and politicians, while horse-riding was not."
Neither the the dangers of MDMA nor the legal standing of riding horses are the ultimate focus of Chu's editorial, but the topics of psychological bias and perception are essential to any conversations about the drug war - conversations the EDM community needs to have. While taking any illegal drug can never be safe, the hysteria of the war on drugs has led to distorted perceptions of the real dangers of drugs, which in turn has led to disproportionate legal consequences threatening both users and event organizers. And the threat of these extreme consequences shuts down harm reductions efforts and prevents honest conversations about how festivals, venues, and the community at large can work together to minimize the dangers that users face.
Read Chu's full editorial at The Independent: