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Danger of Raves and Club Drugs

By mollyadler Jan 14, 2014 1665 Words
All over the United States, young adults and teens attend all night dance parties called “raves” and come face to face with a number of dangerous people and substances. Raves are typically found in abandoned warehouses or other buildings, dance clubs, and open fields. During these dances, there is usually blaring, fast-paced techno music with colorful and bright laser light displays.

Aside from all of the dancing and fun, many young adults die every year from the popular drugs, nicknamed “Club Drugs,” found at raves. The most popular club drugs are MDMA, GHB, Rohypnol, LSD, and ketamine. All of these have different effects ranging from hallucinations to drowsiness. They all have long-term effects such as brain damage, heart problems, and frightening flashbacks.

MDMA, also known as “ecstasy,” “x,” or “rolls” is the most prevalent drug found at raves. It is a stimulant and a hallucinogen. Many people do it to keep energy while dancing, or to improve their moods. What many abusers don’t know is that MDMA is a neurotoxin. This means that the drug destroys or impairs the nerve tissue in the body. This can create long-term damaging effects to the brain such as memory loss, psychosis, depression, anxiety, and damage to regular sleep, learning, and emotion. (Mendelson, John, MD.) MDMA is responsible for over half of the recorded deaths at raves. It is clearly not a drug to mess around with, however thousands of young people take it for granted every day.

MDMA is not the only drug found at raves that has extremely harmful short and long-term effects on users. Lysergic Acid Diethylamide, also known as “LSD,” “Acid,” or “tabs” is also a very destructive, but common club drug found at raves. LSD causes vivid hallucinations or “trips.” It is one of the most unpredictable of the club drugs. The quality of the trip depends on many different factors such as where the drug was taken, the amount taken, and the personality of the user. Since it’s so unpredictable what will happen when taking LSD, the effects can either be very intense or minor. 10th grader from Boulder Colorado, Becky Hartt, had a very unique experience while experimenting with it. “It all seemed like a dream. Freshman year I went to my first concert at Red Rocks and decided to try acid with my friend. I was very naïve and didn’t know how much I was supposed to take. I ended up taking three times what the normal dose was. It was one of the most terrifying nights of my life; I spent the whole night screaming while the rest of the crowd was dancing. I wasn’t sure where I was or what I was doing. I will never forget that night and it will affect me for the rest of my life.” Unfortunately, Becky is not the only person who has had an experience like this with LSD. Bad experiences, also known as “bad trips” happen very often to users. Very common long-term effects of LSD are flashbacks to frightening trips in the past. These flashbacks have been said to be extremely intense and scary for those getting them. Flashbacks can consist of seeing dots of color that aren’t there, problems with hearing, and not being able to tell what is real and what is not (LSD Addiction Help.) Most of the drugs done at raves are voluntary and done for recreational purposes, however that is not always the case. On occasion, tasteless, odorless, and colorless drugs are slipped into drinks and given to people. These drugs that get secretly given to people are commonly known as “date rape drugs.” The most common date rape drug is Rohypnol, also known as “roofies.” Many times, a person will dissolve this into another’s drink to perform risky sexual behavior; usually not wanted by the person it is given to. Young mother, Beth Ellsworth refuses to allow her daughter to go to raves because of the risk of getting drugged with Rohypnol, or another date rape drug. “A few months ago, my daughter asked me to go to a rave music festival called ‘Skylab.’ There was no way I would allow her to go to an event like that with a risk of her getting drugged. There are too many bad people out in the world and I don’t want my daughter dragged into their world.” Sexual assault due to date rape drugs is more common than anyone would assume. 11th grader, Liam Barstad, from Boulder, Colorado had a very close experience with this. “I was at a rave and I witnessed a guy give a girl a drink. Over time, the girl slowly became more tired and started to pass out. The guy was all over her, but she didn’t want it. She kept resisting from him until I decided to step in. I went and talked to one of the police officers and he investigated the situation immediately. I learned to never mess around with mysterious drinks.” Drinks are common ways to get drugged at raves, but some people are more creative with how they drug people, and maybe even have different intentions. At most raves, people are involved in “mosh pits.” Mosh pits are when people in the crowds of concerts get very close together and push and slam together while dancing. This may seem fun to many attending concerts, but few people know the real risk of “moshing.” Many dangerous drugs are transferred this way. The most common way that drugs are transferred through mosh pits is by inhalant drugs. A person will spray a very potent drug into the air when a lot of others are close together. This is very effective for the one spraying the drugs out because it is easy to get to a lot of people at the same time. Everyone has different intentions and motives for doing this, but some just like the see the general reaction of others. A couple of years ago in Denver, Colorado a bunch of high schooler’s were at a rave that was very busy and everyone in the crowd was exceedingly packed together. Someone in the crowd had a can of pepper spray and decided to spray it right in the middle of a group of kids dancing. Pepper spray is made out of what makes chili peppers hot, just at a very high concentration. It can sometimes cause temporary blindness, effects in the respiratory track, and sometimes allergic reactions (Medical News Today.) When it was emitted into the group of teens, some had very bad reactions to it. Kids were blinded and couldn’t breathe and ambulances had to come. One specific kid had an allergic reaction to it and was sent into the emergency room in critical condition. The use of sprays and inhalants is always horrible when it occurs, but it is unfortunately not the only way that mosh pits can be very dangerous. At some of the less popular and sketchier raves, people bring needles for drugs like heroin and meth. This may seem a bit extreme, but 20 year old Tehya Brown has experienced it herself. “I was with really sketchy people at a really sketchy party. It was back a couple years ago when I didn’t care about who I hung out with or where I went. I was at a really intense rave and I was on a lot of drugs. I was pushed so close with everyone and I just remember feeling a needle against my leg and pushing it away as fast as I could. It ruined my entire night and I decided to leave as soon as possible.” Even though Tehya’s story was not made up, Junior in high school Cam Resch had a hard time believing that this could be a common thing. “It just doesn’t seem like that could happen. Every rave I’ve been to everyone has been so nice and wouldn’t do anything like that.” People can deny the dangerous occurrences that happen at raves, but there are many facts and statistics that prove that they are indeed very dangerous events to attend. There are many documented overdoses from raves and other documented bad happenings. Many adults are against raves for a very common reason. Drugs are extremely prevalent in the rave environment, which can never lead to any good. There will always be a chance of having medical issues due to raves. Overdoses happen all the time, and long-term effects such as flashbacks, and brain damage can interfere with a persons daily actions for the rest of their life. There is also always a huge chance of getting taken advantage of through date rape drugs by strangers, or even just getting physically hurt by the immature actions of others in the crowd. The flashing lights, loud music, and bright colors may be tempting, but the risk of going to raves will never be worth it. No one thinks these things will happen to them, but through statistics and articles, it can be concluded that raves are a dangerous environment that no one should be exposed to.


"Acid Flashbacks." LSD Addiction. LSD Addiction Help, n.d. Web. 14 Dec. 2013.

Barstad, Liam. Personal Interview. 14 December 2013.

Brown, Tehya. Personal Interview. 14 December 2013

Ellsworth, Beth. Personal Interview. 7 December 2013.

"Facts About Date-Rape Drugs." Facts about Date-Rape Drugs. Illinois Department of Public Health, n.d. Web. 13 Dec. 2013.

Hartt, Becky. Personal Interview. 14 December 2013.

"LSD." The Partnership at Drugfreeorg. National Institute on Drug Abuse, n.d. Web. 13 Dec. 2013.

Mendelson, John, MD, and Matthew Baggot, BA. "Erowid MDMA (Ecstasy) Vault : Does MDMA Cause Brain Damage?, by Matthew Baggott & John Mendelson." Erowid MDMA (Ecstasy) Vault : Does MDMA Cause Brain Damage?, by Matthew Baggott & John Mendelson. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Dec. 2013.

Resch, Cam. Personal Interview. 14 December 2013.

Smith (PHARM.D), M Kelly. "Club Drugs." 1 June 2002. Clinical Review. Lycaeum. 15 December 2013 .

"What Is Pepper Spray?" Medical News Today. MediLexicon International, n.d. Web. 15 Dec. 2013.

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