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Canada health official: Taking pure ecstasy safe

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) – British Columbia’s top health official says taking pure ecstasy can be safe when consumed responsibly by adults, despite warnings by police about the dangers of the street drug after a rash of deaths.

Dr. Perry Kendall said Thursday that the risks of MDMA _ the pure substance synonymous with ecstasy _ are overblown, and that its lethal dangers arise when gangs mix the manmade chemical with other toxic substances.

Sixteen people from western Canada died last July from a tainted batch of ecstasy they obtained from dealers, the only way an average person can acquire the drug in Canada. It was cut with a toxin called PMMA.

Kendall is advocating that MDMA be legalized and sold through licensed, government-run stores where the product is strictly regulated.

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