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every one of the deaths that have occurred after ecstasy use have been because of heatstroke. Ecstasy makes your body temperature rise. Protracted. energetic dancing also makes your body temperature rise. Raves. by their nature. are hot. sweaty places. Which all adds up to a potentially lethal combination if ecstasy users
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produces and disseminates literature about safer drug use which is written in a style easily acceptable to young people. if not to all politi- cians. They take their pamphlets to record and fashion shops as well as to anywhere people might be taking drugs.
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and club organisers do not act responsibly. Dancers should drink at least one pint of water an hour and cool down regularly. Organisers must provide ‘chill out’ areas and a free supply of potable water. The message of ‘safer drug use’ is one which has concerned responsible drug counsellors for some time and is condoned in the Scottish Affairs Committee report. Willie McBride is a member of CREW 2000. an Edinburgh-based community organisation which promotes this message. He believes that the ‘Don’t do it’ blanket scaremongering against
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ecstasy,’ says McBride. ‘You have to give it time between trips. Promoters must provide somewhere cold to cool off, plenty of free, cold, drinkable water. responsible, adequate stewarding and First Aid. A whole range of factors come into play that can make the difference between a lot of people on a chemical night out who come away feeling a bit rough and somebody dying.’
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‘There is a massive gulf between the direct experi- ence of somebody going on the chemical journey that is an ecstasy trip and what the establishment has told them will happen.’ /. says McBride. When this happens, not only is the message about ecstasy negated. but any other information about addictive drugs, such as heroin, is likely to be ignored.
CREW 2000 was set up when drug projects aimed at heroin users in Edinburgh’s peripheral estates realised that while there was a huge new ecstasy scene starting in the city. no users were contacting them. ‘1989 was a watershed,’ says McBride. ‘Hundreds of thousands of young people all over the country were exposed to chemicals for the first time in their lives. Many of them said. “Never mind saying no to drugs. say yes: I’ll have some of that.” The gateway drug into that whole experience was ecstasy.’
While not condoning drug use, the project
alive to read this if they had known about safer drug use. The ecstasy industry is not going to go away. Nor . is it likely to be . l legalised, although the Scottish Affairs Committee did recommend that ecstasy is taken out of the catagory A list of drugs. While dealers continue to make and market other substances as ecstasy, while unscrupulous promoters continue to fail to provide a safer environment at clubs and raves and while the establishment continues to fail to wholeheartedly support the safer drugs use message, then deaths from ecstasy will continue to occur. Crew 2000 can be contacted at PO Box 2000, Edinburgh EH2 4RU. E For Ecstasy by Nicholas Saunders is a very useful handbook on all aspects of MDMA. It is available for £8.55 (p&p included) from AK Press: 031 667 I507.
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Thanks to Lileline Publications for their permission to reproduce the cartoons on these pages. © Lifeline
MP’s 0N Dnucs
Although MPs considering drug abuse in Scotland (not personally, you understand) visited a couple oi Amsterdam coiiee shops while gathering evidence, their research did not, it seems, extend to a trip to ltezerection. A pity, perhaps, because at least one member, Nicholas Fairbaim, might have cut quite a dash under the strobes. But the group ielt it didn’t need an evening oi nosebleed techno to know there was connection between raves and drugs.
‘The onset oi the “rave” dance culture over the last two or three years has, in the view oi the police, been at vital importance in the sudden upsurge of recreational drug misuse, particularly Ecstasy, amphetamines and mo: they reported in the recently published Drug Abuse in Scotland.
The MP3 were particularly concerned to discover the ‘apparent youth’ oi many ravers, but to their credit, they steered clear irom a knee-jerk call for the raves themselves to be closed down. The police view that this would drive the scene underground was accepted, and the MPs concluded that, Ecstasy use aside, raves tended to be more law abiding places than similar, drink- iuelled events. In tact promoters were praised ior co-operating with the police, and there was no call ior new powers to stop and search people on their way into raves.
However one committee member, Conservative MP Phil Sallie, who represents the Ayr constituency where two teenagers died recently, believes ravers themselves should police the events to reduce dealing. ‘It should be possible to separate dancing and drugs,’ he says. ‘li it can’t be separated, there will have to be stricter controls on how they are allowed to operate.’
It’s possible the committee hadn’t realised how inextricably linked dance drugs and raves are. When considering other drugs such as herein, the committee tried to make some links between the cause and eiiects oi drug abuse - poverty, unemployment and the like. This is territory politicians are iamlllar with; the squalor oi drug injecting and the tear oi llllI make their own case against that kind oi drug abuse. But what seemed to be beyond their grasp is why ordinary kids, with none oi these worries, would want to take dmgs. Maybe experiencing a iew ilashing lights and 20K turbo soundsystem might have helped after all. (Eddie Gibb)
The List 20 May—2 June 1994 11