The idea of your children going to music festivals and raves is no more unusual than when you went to underground music or even disco clubs when you were their age. They’re young, free and single, they’re going to have whatever it is they consider “fun” these days, and you’ll be as helpless as your own parents were when you went home from your nights out at the break of dawn. Partying when you’re young is perfectly normal, regardless of what generation you belong.
However, there is a major difference between our generation and this generation with regards to partying, and that’s the proliferation of party drugs at raves, which, more often than not, leads to incidents you certainly wouldn’t want your kids to get involved in.
The damage caused by party drugs
Sure, it would be hypocritical of our generation to say that there were no illicit substances at our parties, because there were, especially cannabis or marijuana. While cannabis does have long-term adverse effects on the health of users, the harm that it can do does not hold a candle to the kind of damage party drugs are capable of inflicting. One only has to take a look at what happened to a young Victorian man by the name of Jordy Hurdes after taking a particularly bad batch of ‘pingas’, which is what party drugs like ecstasy are known in the streets today.
Bad as the spasms, stuttering and possible nerve or brain damage that Hurdes is suffering are, the families of young people who have died horrible deaths because of party drugs even have it worse. Many of them are still at a loss trying to understand how one little pill taken once at a rave can swiftly take the life of someone they hold dear.
Why are party drugs so popular?
Ecstasy, which is short for MDMA or 3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine, is one of the most popular party drugs out there, and for good reason: the people who take them often experience feelings of emotional warmth, mental stimulation, empathy towards others and a general sense of well-being. Add all that to the blistering beats of the music at raves, and you have the perfect party guaranteed to make your experience an unforgettable one. Sounds good, right?
The problem with party drugs like ecstasy, however, is that they are usually taken while engaging in rigorous physical activity—dancing like crazy at raves, for instance—for extended periods. Why is this a problem? One of MDMA’s effects on the human body is a significant rise in body temperature. Combined with hours-long dancing and jumping, the user eventually suffers hyperthermia, a condition which can cause muscle breakdown which, in turn, can lead to kidney failure. Some individuals can also suffer from dehydration, elevated blood pressure and in some cases, heart failure, all because of one little, brightly coloured pill.
These effects of ecstasy, however, are only half the story.
Party drugs with additives are deadly
More often than not, the culprit for most injuries and deaths by party drugs is the fact that those being sold at raves these days are hardly pure MDMA anymore. For some reason, drug dealers mix ecstasy with other hazardous substances. Arsenic, bath salts and even rat poison are finding their way inside pills being sold as ‘ecstasy’ at raves, and kids who haven’t the faintest idea what they contain or how to manage their effects are lapping them up.
Mix of education and tighter security
There is something we can do about party drugs, and that’s educating party-goers about the kind of risk they are taking by popping mystery pills into their mouth. Then again, young people are given to experimenting, so organisers of raves and music festivals should mix their awareness efforts with beefed-up security. Security doesn’t even have to be private ones. Organisers can partner up with local police. In some cases, policemen have posed as ecstasy dealers at raves and have apprehended both dealers and users with some degree of success.
Party drugs are getting deadlier and more readily available, and it’s time authorities and parents work together to do something about it.