The rise of Ecstasy is a major event in drug history. In the 1990s Ecstasy seemed to come out of nowhere to join marijuana, cocaine and heroin as one of the four most widely used illegal drugs in the country. No other drug has ever spread so fast. Peter Jennings Reporting – Ecstasy Rising tells the definitive story of how an obscure compound, discovered in 1912 and all but forgotten for over 60 years, became the drug of choice for a generation.
The first documentary ever to tell this story, Ecstasy Rising includes significant original reporting and first-time interviews with all the major players: the chemist who first reported the effects of Ecstasy; the California psychotherapists who treated patients with Ecstasy when it was still legal; the Dallas businessman who gave Ecstasy its name and turned it into a recreational drug; the drug enforcement officer who led the fight to make Ecstasy illegal; and the DJ who spread Rave and Ecstasy across America.
Overwhelming, positive word of mouth has made Ecstasy a nightmare for drug controllers. To halt its spread, the U.S. Government has spent millions of dollars making a dramatic case against Ecstasy as a dangerous drug. The headline of the government campaign has been that Ecstasy causes massive brain damage. But this claim is based on faulty science – as is reported in Ecstasy Rising – which is not what the government wants anyone to hear. As far as it is concerned, scaring users as much as possible is all that matters. The mainstream media has mostly mimicked the government’s approach, scaring users while overlooking science.
Ecstasy Rising attempts to set the record straight. In addition to exposing the faulty science behind the government campaign against Ecstasy, the documentary concludes that, by overstating the risks of Ecstasy, the government has significantly damaged the credibility of its drug policy.
Finally, Ecstasy Rising attempts to provide an accurate accounting of the known risks associated with Ecstasy.
Ecstasy Rising first aired April 1, 2004 on ABC.
The Chris Award – Bronze Plaque
Peter R. Livingston Jr.