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Wax PM. 
“Just a Click Away: Recreational Drug Web Sites on the Internet”. 
Pediatrics. 2002;109(6).
ABSTRACT. The explosive growth of the Internet in recent years has provided a revolutionary new means of interpersonal communication and connectivity. Information on recreational drugs—once limited to bookstores, libraries, mass media, and personal contacts—is now readily available to just about anyone with Internet access. Not surprising, Internet access greatly facilitates the free and easy exchange of ideas, opinions, and unedited and nonrefereed information about recreational drugs. This article presents a patient who came to medical attention as the result of recreational drug-taking behavior directly influenced by her Internet browsing. A second case is presented in which the only information available about the medical effects of a new "designer" drug was found on a recreational drug Internet Web site. Several such Web sites are described in detail. Despite the presence of Web sites that convey antidrug messages, the drug sites that espouse "risk reduction" and "safe" and "responsible" drug use are easily accessible and potentially alluring to children and adults. Health care providers who care for adolescents should be particularly aware of the content of these drug sites. Pediatrics 2002;109(6). URL:; Internet, Web sites, drug abuse, recreational drugs, club drugs.
Comments and Responses to this Article
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Nov 5, 2015 22:05
Erowid Response #

Erowid responded to this article on the Pediatrics website. The text of the response is below.

Should a Library have a Single Message? 11 June 2002 Erowid F (Head Archivist, Erowid E.

Although we disagree with some of the tone of Dr. Wax's article, we appreciate his contribution of two case reports to the literature and his detailed presentation of some alternative online resources to the readers of Pediatrics.

Unfortunately, Dr. Wax uses the term 'prodrug' to describe the nature of the Erowid project. While it may be expedient to divide information sites into 'prodrug' and 'antidrug' groupings, this distinction seems to dismiss the concept of a complex, multi-viewpoint information source.

Dr. Wax touches on this later in his article, by pointing out that the Erowid site contains 'mixed messages' about the topics it covers. We are confused by the implication that a coherent 'single message' could be conveyed by an 'encyclopedic' library of information on an extremely complex and controversial subject such as the use of psychoactives. Should a library have a single 'message'? Not a library that most of us would like to use.

It might be useful to clarify again that is the equivalent of a library. It is made up of thousands of articles written by thousands of authors, with thousands of different viewpoints. In fact, only a small number of articles on the site are actually written by the Erowid staff.

It is our position that an information source with a 'single message' will be seen as untrustworthy and biased by many readers: including those who choose to use psychoactives and those who choose to conduct research on them. We thank Dr. Wax for his nuanced discussion of the complexity of and other alternative online information sources, and for his considered opinions about implications these sites may have for pediatric clinicians.
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