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Tvp21 10omslag kijk verder

Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 63 (2021) 9, 665 - 672

Essay

The development of a rational national MDMA policy and its relevance for psychiatry

J.G.C. van Amsterdam, T. Nabben, G.J. Peters, F. van Bakkum, J. Noijen, W. van den Brink

Background MDMA (ecstasy) is a relatively safe drug and induces little dependence, but is nevertheless scheduled as a hard drug (Dutch Opium Act, List 1). Concerns about MDMA-related crime, health incidents and possible inappropriate listing of MDMA on List I have led to an ongoing debate about current Dutch ecstasy policy.
Aim To develop a rational MDMA policy that takes into account all aspects related to production, sale and use of MDMA.
Method An interdisciplinary group of 18 experts formulates a science-based MDMA policy by assessing the expected effects of 95 policy options on 25 outcomes, including health, crime, law enforcement and finance. The optimal policy model consists of the combination of the 22 policy options with the highest total score on all 25 outcomes.
Results The optimal policy model consisted of a form of regulated production and sale of MDMA, better quality management of ecstasy tablets and more intensive fight against MDMA-related organized crime. Such a policy would lead to a small increase in the prevalence of ecstasy use, but with less health damage, less MDMA-related crime, and less environmental damage. To increase practicality and political feasibility, the optimal model was slightly modified.
Conclusion The developed optimal model offers a politically and socially feasible set of policy instrument options, with which the placement of MDMA on List I can be revised, thereby reducing the damage of MDMA to users and society. For psychiatry, it means promoting therapeutic research and less nuisance from unnecessary stigmatization in the treatment of patients.