Majority of U.S. Ecstasy Smuggled From the Netherlands, U.N. Says

By John Lavitt 05/11/15

The Netherlands has earned its reputation as the ecstasy capital of the world.

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According to the United Nations World Drug Report, the Netherlands smuggles a majority of the ecstasy abused in the United States.

Known as the ecstasy capital of the world, the Netherlands' production and smuggling of MDMA has been a problem for years. With a love of Molly—a slang term for a pure version of MDMA—raging throughout the popular culture, the drug has become a serious problem. Although Asia is starting to encroach on their traditional market, most of the United States' drug supply is smuggled from the Netherlands directly into the country or through Canada.

With its stimulant and hallucinogenic properties, MDMA found huge success in the rave and clubbing craze that started in the mid 1980s. Since those early days, ecstasy has remained a key staple in the party scene across the Western world. Ecstasy also was the most popular drug sold on the Silk Road in particular and in the dark net as a whole.

Although advocates claim ecstasy produces positive feelings, empathy for others, and extreme relaxation, opponents point out that it can lead to exhaustion and dehydration, brain damage and death. Suppressing the need to eat, drink or sleep, MDMA allows users to dance all night. Some users have even "drowned" themselves by drinking too much water while trying to compensate for the dehydrating effect of dancing frantically for hours.

The U.N.'s International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) reiterated this point in a recent report. In response, the United States has launched an international operation against the ecstasy trade. Still, the Drug Enforcement Agency asserts that some two million Dutch ecstasy pills are smuggled into the U.S. every week.

With its liberal drug policies, the Netherlands opened the door to the drug producers and smugglers. Ecstasy is produced in laboratories across the country for the sole purpose of smuggling. As a direct result, the Dutch countryside is plagued by toxic dump sites where the byproducts of mass drug productions can be found.

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Growing up in Manhattan as a stutterer, John Lavitt discovered that writing was the best way to express himself when the words would not come. After graduating with honors from Brown University, he lived on the Greek island of Patmos, studying with his mentor, the late American poet Robert Lax. As a writer, John’s published work includes three articles in Chicken Soup For The Soul volumes and poems in multiple poetry journals and compilations. Active in recovery, John has been the Treatment Professional News Editor for The Fix. Since 2015, he has published over 500 articles on the addiction and recovery news website. Today, he lives in Los Angeles, trying his best to be happy and creative. Find John on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.