THE POISONING OF SUBURBIA
By Ted Oehmke

Original article and photos are posted on Salon.com

Sara Aeschlimann called her mom, Janice, in typical fashion at 12:30 one Saturday night. "I just wanted to let you know that I'm OK and that I'll be staying at Garrett's house," she said. Though Garrett Harth was three years older than 18-year-old Sara, they had known each other a long time, and he lived with his parents only five minutes away in the Chicago suburb of Naperville, Ill.

Like other teens, Sara had experimented with drugs, and had recently confided to her mom that she liked to smoke pot every once in a while. That worried her mother. But Sara had a job and a wide circle of friends, and was just a few weeks from high school graduation. All in all, she seemed OK. Aeschlimann thanked her daughter for calling and hung up.

A short time after the call, as Sara was watching TV and playing pool in Harth's basement, he reportedly offered the striking blond, brown-eyed girl a potent brand of ecstasy known as "double stack white Mitsubishi." She had apparently taken ecstasy for the first time a couple of months earlier, and the round white pills were supposed to be the hottest version of ecstasy around. She washed down a few and waited for the drug's effects to kick in. Indeed, they did. Within hours, she was in convulsions and had to be rushed to the hospital. There, she lapsed into a coma and her body temperature rose quickly, not stopping until it reached 108 degrees. "She was bleeding everywhere," says her mother. "Her blood cells were just erupting. Her intestines were bleeding; her stomach was bleeding. She was bleeding from the mouth. She bit her lip when she had a seizure, and it wouldn't stop bleeding, but she was not moving at all."

By 3 the next afternoon, Mother's Day, she was dead. Instead of taking methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), the only chemical contained in unadulterated ecstasy, she had unknowingly swallowed paramethoxymethamphetamine, a much more dangerous chemical known as PMA. The DuPage County coroner's office determined that Sara died from an accidental overdose of PMA, a substance also believed to be responsible for at least two other recent deaths in the Chicago area.

Contaminated illegal drugs have never been a big issue in the United States. But if the demand for ecstasy continues to rise, as some researchers speculate it will, more and more dealers may start substituting deadly substances like PMA for less harmful drugs like MDMA.

"The ingredients for MDMA are highly controlled, and you have any number of people willing to make substitutes that are much more dangerous," says Dr. David Nichols, professor of medicinal chemistry and molecular pharmacology at Purdue University and one of the few to ever study the effects of PMA. "If you make one drug illegal, it will be replaced by a more dangerous drug. No matter how much you try to control it, people will come up with substitutes."

With the skyrocketing demand for ecstasy and its low production outlay -- it costs only 10 to 50 cents to make a pill that sells on the street for $20 to $45 -- there is a compelling economic incentive to sell the drug even if it's entirely made of another substance. "The rave scene is a huge market of people willing to pay $20 or $30 per pill to get high, and a lot of people are taking advantage of it," Nichols says.

The tablets and capsules sold as ecstasy might contain any number of adulterants. A quick look at the pill-testing results of DanceSafe, a harm reduction organization that analyzes such pills in a forensic laboratory, shows a cookbook's worth of ingredients that the drug is often cut with or downright replaced by: caffeine, DXM (dextromethorphan, an ingredient in cough suppressants), the psychedelic PCP, Valium and ketamine (an anesthetic). Ingestion of DXM, for example, has led to hospitalizion of ravers in cities like Oakland, Calif., and London. Included on DanceSafe's list of tested pills is a picture of white Mitsubishi, the variety of ecstasy that killed Sara.

But the problem of drug contamination and substance swapping by drug dealers is not widely recognized. An epidemiologist who attended a recent drug trends seminar in Washington, but who wishes to remain anonymous, says that a Drug Enforcement Administration representative at the conference commented that ecstasy is "a pretty pure drug." And a slide show presented at the seminar revealed that the DEA had analyzed more than 3 million ecstasy pills in 1999 and found that "all tablets contained some MDMA." The Customs Service uses dogs to detect ecstasy being smuggled into the United States, but the canines can only detect MDMA, not adulterants. During the first four months of this year alone, around 5 million ecstasy pills were seized by customs, and in all probability the confiscated pills had some level of purity to them. The result is that the better-quality drugs are being taken off the market, increasing the ratio of contaminated pills to clean ones.

While there have always been risks involved in taking any illegal drugs -- which are produced with no oversight by any agency monitoring safety concerns -- drug contamination has traditionally been limited to substances like heroin.

R. Terry Furst, an associate professor of anthropology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, has studied the demographics of drug users. He believes the ecstasy-taking crowd, whose numbers have increased by more than 50 percent among high school seniors in the past two years, is a whole different demographic group than users of drugs like heroin, who are mostly from lower economic strata. Furst notes that "income is higher for ecstasy users because you have to be able to afford to go to a club, and you have to pay for the ecstasy, too."

Users of ecstasy are generally associated more with ravers -- who are likely to be found bunny-hopping on the dance floor while sucking on pacifiers -- than with the traditional type of drug users who will do anything for a fix. In other words, many of these users aren't aware of the inherent dangers of taking street drugs -- especially since ecstasy isn't often linked to fatal overdoses and its dangers are still being debated among scientists.

"After Sara died," says her mother, "her friends came to see me. They talk about taking drugs as if they were taking milk and cookies." The adulterant PMA is not known to be useful for much of anything. Like MDMA, PMA raises body temperature, but much more severely. Unlike MDMA, PMA is not known to have very pleasant effects. Chemist Alexander Shulgin, known for his outspokenness on the positive effects of MDMA, synthesized PMA and tested it on himself several years ago. In an e-mail interview, Shulgin says he tried it half a dozen times and found that "it was not too enjoyable." He said that the chemical "compound is about twice as potent as MDMA."

According to representatives of the DEA's Chicago office, the PMA contamination found there was not a novice chemist's mistake -- it was deliberate. The process required to synthesize PMA is similar to the process of making MDMA, but the chemical precursors are totally different. As Mike Hillebran, a DEA spokesman says, it's "like making angel food cake and coming up with chocolate chip cookies."

The recent overdoses in the Chicago area are the first known instances of PMA in the illicit-drug market in the United States. However, it has shown up before. Between 1995 and 1996, at least six Australians were killed after ingesting PMA they thought was ecstasy, prompting scientists in that country to warn, in the American Journal of Forensic Medical Pathology, that "PMA has been associated with a much higher rate of lethal complications than other designer drugs, and that no guarantee can be made that tablets sold as Ecstasy are not PMA."

The known incidence of contaminated or substituted drugs in the United States is relatively small. One of the more publicized cases occurred in the 1970s, when the U.S. government, under President Jimmy Carter, supported a Mexican program of spraying crops with the pesticide paraquat in an attempt to stem the flow of opium and marijuana from Mexico to the U.S. Keith Stroup, then president of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, was so infuriated that then-drug czar Peter Bourne had tolerated the spraying, which many believed could be harmful to pot smokers, that he leaked a report that Bourne had snorted some coke at a NORML party. Bourne was subsequently forced to resign.

And in the early '80s, several people showed up at a neurology clinic in California, exhibiting signs of Parkinson's disease. It turned out they had tried a form of synthetic heroin called MTPT, which caused damage to the nervous system in much the same way Parkinson's does.

Drug overdoses are always hard to treat -- doctors don't know how much of the substance the user took, over how long a period it was taken, if there was any interaction with another drug already ingested -- but physicians say the problem skyrockets when someone comes in after having ingested a drug of unknown origin. In Sara's case lab technicians were unable to identify what she took until after she died.

"We don't have tests for most of these drugs," says Dr. Alan Kaplan, head of emergency services at Edward Hospital in McHenry, Ill., where Sara was taken. "We have to treat symptoms ... We would treat someone with hyperthermia caused by a [PMA] overdose the same way we would treat a roofer with hyperthermia. But these drugs," he adds, referring to so-called club drugs like PMA, "reset the body's thermostat so that it's very hard to control. Sometimes we just can't get ahead of it."

Six weeks after their only child's death, Sara's parents remain dazed. Robert, Sara's father, has been "fixing things around the house that don't need to be fixed," says Janice, who just returned to work as a receptionist at an animal hospital, and the days without Sara "seem very empty and long." When she's not having nightmares of Sara's vacant eyes and her bleeding body lying on a hospital bed, what Janice Aeschlimann remembers is a daughter who "liked long walks in the woods" and had a pet parakeet who followed her around the house. "It's very hard to not see her in my mind," she says. "She is what I was. Now, I'm not that anymore. It's hard to be, and not be empty."

Sitting by Sara's bedside at the hospital, the Aeschlimanns told their daughter they loved her, and Janice vowed that her death would not be for nothing. "We just hope she heard us," she says. "We hope that she knows we were there."




COMMENTS:



I HAVE BEEN A RAVER FOR 13 YEARS AND THE X THING HAS BEEN AROUND FOR AS LONG AS I CAN REMEMBER. ALTHOUGH I HAVE BEEN OFFERED MANY TIMES I HAVE NOT TAKEN IT TO GET HIGH TO DANCE. THE MUSIC GETS ME HIGH. I FIND IT SAD THAT SO MANY BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE HAVE TO INJEST A DRUG TO FEEL THE SAME FEELINGS I DO. I HOPE MORE RAVERS WILL READ THIS ARTICAL ABOUT SARA AND REALLY READ IT LET IT SINK IN. THE PEOPLE MAKING THESE DRUGS DO NOT CARE IF YOU GET HIGH OR DIE ALL THEY WANT IS YOUR $!!

ISHEL
snapondean@alo.com




This just goes to show you guys......KNOW what you're taking......buy a test kit and use it if you take E. You'll be a lot safer. And BE careful with your doses. If you need to take two doublestacks at at time, you're doing too many drugs. And if you WANT to take two doublestacks at a time....don't. It won't help you. Just be careful, and use RESPONSIBLY if you choose to use.

Chief




I just wanna say that the musik is the best drug you can find. Ecstacy is a big joke. Think about it. You have to poison your body,pay a good amount of $ for it and take a risk in that pill being a fake, just to feel happy. People shouldn't have to take a pill to get high, they should be able to get high off of the good vibes and the heart pounding musik. Plur Kids! And remember, plur only exist to the mind that chooses to believe,to the eyes that choose to see,to the earst that choose to listen,and to the heart that chooses to accept. : ) Smiles*N*Huggz

Gabby C
KanDlandPrincess@aol.com




Up until recently I was taking drugs at parties. I loved going for the musik and for the vibe and i was also taking drugs. I started a sober streek, and went to U-Turn 2000 sober. Wow, the whole experience is different. It felt so much better being sober than on E,acid or anything. The power of musik should be enough. And those who need to fill themselves with chemicals just to enjoy themselves, then they arent welcome in the scene. *plur*

Joel
raverboyaz@aol.com




i dont think drugs are for parties..parties are for dancing. It really bugs me when im trying to dance and i step on some fucked up kid laying on the floor.there is a reason they call it a DANCEfloor. i also used to do alot of E at parties until i remembered how much fun it was to actually be able to dance and remember the names of those i had met.

lexie
starpunk519@gateway.net




whatever

I've been on the rave scene for 7 years, ever since I was 14. You win some you lose some. Some people never come back from a bad acid trip yet people still do acid all the time. You're fucking with drugs you need to be aware you might get fucked over at some point. Personally, I still do a high amount of drugs, but I've got a career job, an appartment, a girlfriend, etc.. its not interfering with my life so fuck you and don't go around saying drugs arent for parties cause without the drug, the scene would not nearly be like it is now.

madsic
dont@email.me




the scene comes with drugs. i don't believe the scene would exist with out drugs. however, sober people don't ruin the party, and neither do people who are trippin if they know what they are doing. everyone's gonna have their first time, and we have to be there to support people having a bad trip because that is part of the love in the scene. i don't think anyone who says people who do drugs suck or anyone who says that sober people suck can consider themselves true ravers, we love our fellow ravers because of who they are, not what they do. it's not our place to judge, it's just our place to be a friend. personally i can go to a rave sober and have just as much fun as i can when i'm high, so i do both. i think that anyone who can appreciate the scene any way it comes at them truly understands what it means to rave. plur =)

kat
kebelli@hotmail.com




WoW! I never thought that such a terrible thing could take just a few hours to destroy. My heart goes out to Sara's parents.

B.M.
brandymullen@yahoo.com




that is a very sad story and i hope that i never get into that mess of stuff. thank you, you inspired me not to do that or take anything i don't know what it is. if you have anymore stories will you please e-mail me at baby_blues90210

sara
baby_blues90210




Music iz the scene. If any one persons believe that the scene wouldn't be the same without drugs then they need to be locked up in a room that iz pounding their favorite dj/dj's for 24 hours guaranteed that those people will look at music a whole new way. Not saying I don't do drugs but, think before hand / know what could come of what you do. My prayers go out to sara's parents and friends. I hope she has made an impact on lives across the WORLD. So if you want to risk your friendship and family I encourage you to swallow all the drugs you can but, for those who value friends and family THINK.I would rather see kids/adults taking ecstasy than drinking. Guaranted alcohaul will lead the death toll and yet it iz legal. I hope peolpe understand what I am trying to say. I except all E-mails and would love to talk to anyone in question with what I have said. THANKING YOU ALL AHEAD OF TIME .... NUGGS

Dwayne

nuggskind@aol.com




I just wanted to respond to Madsic's comment, simply because it really upset me that a person could say "you win some you lose some" to another human beings life. That's a horrible perspective, raver or not. The drugs may not be interfering with your life now, but what happens the one time you do too much? What will you say to your friends as you lay on your death bed with brain damage and bleeding organs? My heart goes out to Sarah's family and friends. And also, where you said "the scene wouldn't be where it is now without drugs" I totally agree, but not in the sense that you used. I've never raved anything but sober, and it is such a beautiful thing. The scene has gone so far downhill. Let the vibe be your drugs. Let's bring back the old reasons guys, the love of the music and each other.

Squirrel
Dweezle83@aol.com




Take couple of ciders, little bit of amphetamine and 1 1/2 tablets of E ( if this aint enough, take little bit cocaine too) . Then listen some ravemusic..and let the music take your soul!!!!!

Raver from finland
jerobeam@hotmail.com




The problem is that people don't educate themselves enough on the drugs they choose to take. I have ingested my fair share of drugs, and continue to do so on rare occasions, but before I ever tried a substance, I did lots of research on it. Find out the side effects, find out the possible contaminants you might have to deal with, and make sure you understand all of the possible outcomes. Have people around you that are experienced, and be smart about it. Take small amounts until you figure out the effect it has on your body personally. Remember that each dosage is different. Don't assume because you took three pills of one variety means that you should take three pills of another. All are not created equal.

If you're doing E, then for gods sakes buy a testing kit. If nothing else, it supports DanceSafe, an incredible organization working to make the scene much safer for us all. Don't buy pills at a party unless you know the dealer, or know for sure they are ok.

www.dancesafe.org

For more information on chemicals:

/www.erowid.org/psychoactives/psychoactives.shtml

Educate yourself and be safe!

- A Concerned AZ Raver
PimpDaddy
AZPimp@idontwantspam.com




Let me give you another sad story. No check that, a sad fact: That same night that Sara died of an E overdose, tens of thousands of people were killed in car accidents related to alcohol. Here's another fact: People die. It's sad but it happens, and it's good to know about bunk drugs, but why must we always try to scare people with horribly tragic stories? The world is a dangerous place, if you are ignorant.

Znd

azktown@hotmail.com




i dont care bout her,i love e. its the number one drug for rave parties.u can get high n shit,feels mad good.i neva got overdose but i think its mad phat.the best thign aobut it is that wen u hav sex n u on e its the best.

vn-xtc-kid
imalittog00k




Not responding to that last submitment :( sad, I think that if you are going to eat pills, know your limit. And get a tester for the care of yourself, your friends and other party kids. Spread that shit, cuz you NEVER know exactly what is in a pill(unless you made it yourself). And also I really believe if less people went to parties to get fucked up, It would keep alot of the bullshit and misconseptions to a minimum. It is about the music, innovation of electronic music culture, and the love for your fellow human beings. It is about feeling the music not getting fucked up. I agree that drugs are not much for parties,(Ive done my share of chemicals) but I just stick to the herbals nowadays. That story about Sara(R.I.P.) is real yo, a human life sad but true. And kids are dying all the time from not knowing what they are ingesting and not being smart about it.None of us like to see this happen, and we can do something about the problem. Word ,educate yourself on all the drugs you take, It'll help you and all who you share your knowledge with. The scene was developed on an underground electronic mmusic dance culture, innovation and revelution. The less drugs the more beauty and purity of it. Real love not a drug. I still love you all whether you do drugs or not but I worry about yall kids. Are future...........Well, I can go on for awhile, but Ill shutup now... Love ya kids... keep on moving.....The beat goes on..... PLURR

TwAn
twan@candykids.net




Hey I have had my share of pills, my opinion may not matter but just a comment. Know ur dealer and everyone is exactly right about "be around people who are experienced." Know ur body start in small doses. I had a friend who overdosed I can tell you it wasn't b/c of her pill. So watch ur drinks never never drink out of other people's cups!!!!! Do Not Mix Other Substances With Ecstacy..(until you know ur limits).Your body builds a tolerance so take time away from the pill, it will give you time to build more serotonin and you will not end up taking to much. You might even save some money. Love yourself, live your life to the fullest, be responsible for you. Life IS true ecstacy!!!! I don't want to promote drugs but i don't want to put it down either. JUST GET THE MESSAGE....I don't claim to be a raver and of course I love the music. I think ecstacy can help you learn more about yourself but once you get that message don't abuse the messenger. To Sara: Girl I hope you're on the dance floor in heaven.

To her parents: Good things often come from tragedies and Im glad you've let her story out. Your message will get to people.....IT GOT TO ME, THANKS




I Tottaly agree that ecstacy is a bad drug and that i dont need ANY drug to get me high. The Music gets me high, all the lights. if u take the time and close your eyes without taking any drug, i promise you, you'll feel high of the music. im proud to say i DONT do ecstacy and still have a hell of a good time. and thats what we should be doing, not killing our brains.

P.L.U.R. - Christina




sex on e the best? nah. sex with someone you trust, who really knows you , knows your soul - that's the best




Ecstasy is an insult to music! If the artist have to have kids takin stuff just for their music to be good, then they're not real artists. If the kids gotta have stuff to make the music good, then they say that the artists suck!

Forget X! Your heart mind and soul is most important and if you need a drug to feel high, then you got some issues you need to take up with JaJa.

Peace.
DELIVERY KILLER




It has become apparent by the astounding presence of apathy for human life displayed by some certain individuals, that the poison known as ecstacy will not be driven out of the hands of these mislead people unless there is divine intervention present. So I give to you my friends an excerpt from the word of God, the Holy Bible:

1 Corinthians 6:19- What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

What the Lord wanted us to realize is that God is in us (through the holy spirit) and that our body is his. By harming ourselves through drug use and other harmful practices we are disrespecting God, and misusing the body that God has given to us. We have seen the results of drug use, we have seen lives lost, we have seen people make fools of themselves while on drugs, and we have seen what drugs have done to the public opinion of the scene. I challenge you people now to stop for a minute and think about the substances that you put into your bodies. Please, FOR GOD'S SAKE, THE DRUG USE MUST STOP!! You must understand that those individuals who participate in the practice of drug use will experience lifelong consequences for their actions. Please consider what i have said, and please know that God loves you, and wants nothing but the best for you, and by harming ourselves, we make God very sad. I hope and pray that my words have affected someone, and that those who live only for their next high will change their ways.

Go with God,

Dj Matt Atom

Big_pantz2003@yahoo.com




wow i used to go to school with her my names brendan i went to naperville central it weird i had forgotten all abot that i rave everyweek now i l;ive in la its like you forget. im trippin.its like a ghost from the past. i lookm at e as pure fun then you remember the past. i had saome cdfllasses with her wow. i cant even think of what to say but wow..................




i guess that just goes to show you, that not all pills are the real thing. my friend peach got some bad pills once and she had a really close to death experience. dont be stupid people, you cant buy happiness. you have to find it in your soul.

*kay*




It is very sad to see that some people can honestly dismiss a death saying "i dont care bout her,i love e. its the number one drug for rave parties". You are a sad sad soul that you can read about a death, think about all of the people affected, and advertise that you dont care. Have fun in hell buddy.

With pity and anger...a fellow NCHS classmate




This is a sad story and clear proof that ecstasy should be legalised. MDMA has to be one of the tested drugs in the world, with millions taking it every weekend around the world, and there is no evidence of adverse long-term side-effects. If it were legal, tragic deaths through impure pills would be avoided, and criminal organisations would not be the beneficiaries of the enormous profits involved. As well as being carefully controlled, like alcohol, legal pills could be taxed to provide funds for education, health etc.

Why should anti-depressants, slimming pills, alcohol etc be legal and not marajuana and ecstacy?




Gotta tell ya, partying was SUPER fun at the time. But then we all started doing it every single weekend and more. I ended up seriously ill...repressed immune system, depressed and suicidal. I will most likely always have problems with my immune system and i STILL have problems with depression and i will probably ALWAYS have to take prescription drugs to normalize my serotonin levels. Anything that screws with your brain chemistry THAT much is SUPER bad for your mental well-being. So if anyone ever tells you it is harmless, that is a lie. i am living proof that it is NOT. And you never really know what is in the pills. So i am pretty sure i was addicted. if not to the MDMA then to all the other crap they put in them. if i had a choice between my mental and physical health and partying...looking back, i definitely would choose my health. i'm just lucky that i didn't end up like sara. just remember it could happen to ANYONE.




So I'm thinkin... I'm never doing ecstasy. whoever said it should be legal is DUMB. have you ever heard of a case with E in it...that turned out happy? no. you may feel WONDERFUL & VIBRANT & HIGH at the time, but it quickly wears off...you have a better risk of dying. if i were a raver and was takin E, I'd pray everytime I took it... cuz it could be the last time I'd see anything again.




I knew sarah on a personal level which make s thiss comment so much more difficult to say. No I wasnt best friends with her or anything like that but she did date one of my friends for a while and occasionaly when Im at arave I look into the crowd and I think I see her and start to walk over to her but then I think "no, she died that cant be her." There have been many rumors about her death and the cause of it.I will not pretend to know any facts as to the dose or causes or events leading to her death. Including rumors of alleged acccidental manslaughter. I trully belive that like most people that use drugs it is dependedt on the individual to ackonwledge and be aware of their own limitiations. Of, course, With any drug prolonged and constant use is dangerous. Buyilding a tolerance is a dangerous road. Most people may be able to take a single pill of ecstasy,to get high, but when you use drugs (especially ecstasy)over a prolonged period a tolerance is created. If you build a tolerance to a drug and then take a drug that you think is something but in fact isnt you may end up dead. No matter what you do a single pill of PMA is not going to kill you. But if you have a tolerance and take six or seven of these youll probably die a painful death. The lesson to know here is this. Moderation is the key. Drugs when Taken excesivley over a long period of time can be dangerous leading to insanity, addiction, Isolation and even death. When you take Adrug it is important for you to examine yourself. take time to ask am I getting addicted to this. Do I feel worse then I should. Do I need help. If the answer is yes I suggest that you seek some sort of attention.

Drug can be bad But they can also be Beutifull. Mystics from all over the world use drugs and report their experince as religious. Ecstasy is Aprticularly powerfull drug that involves a great feelings of elation and sympathy towards others (which makes it such a perfect dancing drug). You should in no situation ever take a drug like ecstasy more then once a week and if you do take it it you should never do much more then one pill. If a single pill doesnt get you high then you shouldnt take any more you should hjold off on it unitl your tolerance has lowered. These are desighner drugs people they are made to get you high in one shot. If your poppin three four or five pills in a night you have problem and you need to lay off the drugs for awhile. But When taken in moderation drugs like ecstasy marijuana mushrooms, acid and the like can lead to trully spiritual experiences that can infrom you about your existence the Universe and your place in it. Durgs are not bad Drug abuse is.

Please excuse my bad spelling




Personly I think that E is a lot safer then alcohol.Look at how many people dye through drink then E, but the thing is 5 people a year dye on E and the media makes a big deal about it. But there are over 200 people a day dye of drink and its not mentioned. So whats worse?




The comments this article have raised are interesting... One person in particular who said that legalisation was stupid and that we never hear of a 'good' ecstasy experience, well here's one now, I love ecstasy and I take it on a frequent basis, as do many others out there, BUT I treat it with the respect it deserves and needs. All the guys who have said you should know your dealer and things like that, I salute you, thanks for giving practical advice to all the prospective drug users out there, because however much you throw the bible or what you think is common sense at people, you're probably not going to change much. They're still going to do it if they know people in the scene, because no doubt the people in the scene, like me, are like unconscious psychedelic soldiers. You see when people get into the drug scene, they talk about it all the time, it's all that they can really think about, and it comes across in everything they do, and it wears down the wills of those around them to not take it. I was shocked when my girlfriend, a very strong anti-drug personality, turned to me and said "I want to take E". Why did she do that? Because I can't help but praise it constantly, and believe me these kinds of beliefs can effect the people around you in incredibly strong ways. So if you can't stop them taking it, what do you do? Well I'm with the aforementioned guy, legalization, as insane as it sounds, is the only way out. One of the only ways we can control for cases like Sarah not being perpetuated is to ensure that the drug is methodically manufactured and contains only MDMA, not any of the other crap that you're inevitably going to stumble upon. Another way would be to accept that drug use does happen at raves and to incorporate drug testing facilities as standard, perhaps prescribed by law to establishments such as these. The answer is not to push raves further underground where all manner of problems would then ensue. This would be a two pronged attack however, as there is something wrong with the original statement that they should be legalised, and it is seated in the idea that there are no long term effects. There are. If anyone wants the technicalities then here they are


1. Chronic users over time show signs of memory impairment
2. 5-HT (serotonin) transporter sites in the cerebral cortex are greatly diminished


and as for short term problems


1. the phrase here is 'seretonin syndrome'. Remember the jaw clenching, grinding teeth and whathaveyou? Well that's amongst the mild effects of seretonin syndrome, and you needent worry about them. In fact you can have up to around 3 of the symptoms without needing to worry, but more than that and it gets a bit more serious. Usually it can be calmed by sitting in a cool, quiet corner with your friends to reduce agitation, and just riding it out, but too many and you need medical assistance. Seretonin syndrome is caused by an overactivity of seretonin neurotonal activity and I'm gonna be frank with you, most ravers will never need worry as they are generally smart and wont up their dose too high when they're not ready, but when they do it can cause problems
2. problems in thermoregulation cause overheating and death can occur if too little (or too much) water is consumed. ALWAYS drink water when on E, or lucozade or something, BUT on the other hand dont drink it obsessively because you're so worried about dehydration, cause that can kill you too.


Those are the indisputable facts that you must take into consideration and which I am perfectly aware of every time I drop a pill. And please guys, fellow ravers, keep an eye on the signs you're giving out to people. I unwittingly dragged my girlfriend into all this and I gotta say, it's all good and well taking risks for your own sake, but THINK, do you really want to be responsible for totally and utterly changing the way a person views the world, and I know anyone who has had the experiences I have had is nodding right now that it's true, it changes you, on some level, and do you really want to be responsible for someone you know and love to destroy and rebuild their sense of self in front of your eyes, as incredibly beautiful as they may turn out to be. We are not Gods, but we can pretend to be when we mould others into people they were never destined to be. Remember the code, Peace Love Unity and Respect, and think about it every time you open your mouth. Love all you guys,


Tom

   




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