The appeal of party drugs cannot be truly appreciated without some insight into the rave phenomenon. Raves are all-night dance marathons that attract hundreds of partygoers every weekend. An import from Great Britain, raves were originally underground events with an outlaw mystique. Rave parties are frequently held without permits in undisclosed locations. To discover the address, teens may have to call ever-changing 800 telephone numbers, obtain information through flyers or e-mail, or follow up on clues distributed at tape stores and other youth hangouts.
Rave parties frequently advertise themselves as being vehemently anti-alcohol, leading unwitting parents into believing these are positive "alternative activities" for their teens. Unfortunately, unknown to these parents, drugs (particularly ecstasy and LSD) often are rampant. Many raves ban alcohol and sell “smart drinks” instead. These fruit-juice based concoctions containing various combinations of vitamins, amino acids, and often, caffeine, tend to be vividly colored and go by such names as “Psuper Psonic Psyber Tonic” and “Energy Elicksure.” Smart drinks are expensive costing around $4.00 each. Although their distributors express strong anti-drug sentiments, some partygoers believe that smart drinks enhance and extend the effects of the drug ecstasy. Other drug users believe that smart drinks will counter the negative effects of ecstasy and LSD.
Observers of the rave scene report that drugs are plentiful. Dealers frequent raves and hand out cards just like any other sales person would. Experts estimate that anywhere from 75 to 90 percent of rave partygoers use ecstasy, LSD, and marijuana and, for many, a rave was their initiation into the world of drugs. Many young teens, in particular, say they are more likely to use drugs at raves than outside them. From the perspective of drug prevention, raves are not a favorable environment.
DO’s and DON’Ts for Safe Raving
- Do NOT take drugs or use alcohol. Drugs are illegal and both activities are against the law for a substantial proportion of ravers. From a health perspective, drugs, alcohol, dancing, heat, and crowds do not mix and can lead to serious, adverse reactions. Drugs like ecstasy and speed can raise your body temperature and alcohol dehydrates you.
- DO drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids frequently throughout the night, even if you do not feel thirsty. Avoiding dehydration is essential.
- DO take rest breaks from dancing and give your body a chance to recover from the constant physical demands that high-energy marathon dancing places on it.
- DO take heat breaks and leave the hot and crowded dance floor to cool down. That way, you can avoid overheating and possible heatstroke.