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EDM Culture: It's Time To Talk About Drugs

EDM Culture: It's Time To Talk About Drugs

The Bad Girls Club

There's one "bad" girl that nobody can seem to keep off the headlines. Her impact is far beyond the wild antics of Miley Cyrus, the continuous court appearences of Lindsay Lohan or the ridiculous rehab stints of Amanda Bynes. You may know her, you may not- but you've definitely heard of her. Her name is Molly, and the international question on everyone's mind besides "have you seen her?" Is undoubtedly "Who Is She?" This notorious bad-girl has been linked with a multitude of non-violent drug crimes, been held responsible for the hospitalization of festival goers, and in some cases her presence has resulted in tragic, fatal incidents across the globe. Molly is causing an incredible uproar that cannot be ignored both outside of the EDM culture, and even more recently- within it.

Welcome To Drug Education

As with any culture in history- hip hop, rock, or any underground movement- the use of illegal substances is inevitable. Just as in the past, and just as it will be in the future, we can not simply put a stop to the use of party drugs in EDM Culture and industries alike- but we do have the ability to keep ourselves and those around us safe. Why are we not able to stop the ingestion of drugs? Because it is human nature. As a race, we constantly seek happiness, pleasure, and gratification. Look back to the late 1800's when the Freudian Pleasure Principle was introduced to society. The Pleasure Principle is described as the driving force behind the "ID" or the personality component made of subconscious energy which works to satisfy basic urges, needs and desires. Freud's pleasure principle demands the ultimate instant gratification. It is a hard-wired trait that we carry-- to want, to need, to have. Party Drugs stimulate feelings of happiness, expression, and confidence. (So does alcohol. The legal liquid drug.) Of course, not everyone agrees with finding gratification or happiness in stimulants, but most recreational users will agree that it is the easiest, fastest way to leaving reality and embarking on an adventure through a self-induced wonderland.

So what do we do as a society? Keep denying that these feelings exist? Embrace these feelings? State funded D.A.R.E programs obviously aren't working, and the world-wide War On Drugs is far from over. Is education really too 'out there?' What else are we to consider as a plan of action for prevention of overdoses and drug related deaths? Instead of continually saying "NO, Don't Do it!" How about we start with "Do you know which combination of substances is deadly, and which is safe?" How about "Do you know what's in that?" We openly teach 'Safe Sex.' We openly teach 'Responsible Drinking.' Why, in a world so exposed to drug culture do we not teach 'Safe Drug Use?'

Drug Education? ABSOLUTELY NOT. Drugs Are Bad- They Kill People!

Yes, illegal drugs are dangerous. There is no denying the fact that over 10,000 lives are taken every year in America due to overdose and other [illegal] drug-related incidents. But go to the doctor with a headache, and you walk out with an assortment of fancy pills that you cannot pronounce with instructions not to drive, operate heavy machinery or take with alcohol. Why do you get instructions when consuming these colorful little pills? Because they are dangerous. They kill people. And yet, because we are told that they are safe when taken in moderation, with detailed instruction, and provided education from your healthcare practitioner, they are perfectly okay to take. No mind the fact that they make you feel like you're flying, floating, wobbling or give you the giggles. Interesting, sounds a lot like some street drugs we know.

Overdose deaths from prescription painkillers have skyrocketed in the past decade. Every year, nearly 15,000 people die from overdoses involving these drugs more than those who die from heroin and cocaine combined.                 Source: Center for Disease Control and Prevention

As of 2010, Prescription Drugs have been responsible for taking more lives in America than illegal drugs. Want some fun facts?

FACT The Journal of the American Medical Association (Vol. 284, No.4) has recorded that 290 People in the United States are killed by prescription drugs every day.

FACT Hydrocodone, methadone, oxycodone, and oxymorphone are considered a public health epidemic by the CDC. These drugs are widely misused and abused across the nation. One in 20 people in the U.S, ages 12 and older, use these "legal drugs" with or without a prescription, some simply because of the intense, long lasting "high" they cause. (CDC Analysis 60[43];1487-1492)

FACT We continue to sell the drugs, in hopes that the education provided will encourage users to medicate safely, effectively, and responsibly. Gee, there's a concept.

That Was Fun. Now Let's Dig A Little Deeper

Here is another fun-filled fact. Let's talk alcohol for a moment. Yes- alcohol. I like to call alcohol 'the liquid drug'. It makes you happy, it can make you incredibly stupid, it has the uncanny ability to give you confidence and courage, and it can kill you in the blink of an eye. Alcohol is responsible for more than 80,000 deaths per year in the United States. Want the bigger picture? Annually, 2.5 million people will die from alcohol related deaths worldwide. Not only will we continue to sell alcohol for personal consumption, it will be sold for entertainment purposes as well.

Take Major League Baseball for example. The MLB is sponsored by Budweiser (Anheuser-Busch). The MLB is also responsible for housing the venues resulting in alcohol-related deaths. On September 26th, a Los Angeles Dodger fan was stabbed to death in San Francisco after a Giants vs. Dodgers game. The death was alcohol related. Similarly in 2011, a Giants fan was fatally stabbed in Los Angeles. The incident was also alcohol-related. Need more validity?

May 2008- Atlanta Braves fan falls 150 feet to his death at 25 years old. Alcohol was determined a factor in the death.

September 2012- A 20-year old fan from Tennessee was drinking alcohol before he fell to his death in the Georgia Dome, and struck another man, who was injured.

September 2013- A 30 year old football fan falls to his death during the 49'ers game. Police and multiple witnesses reported the man was intoxicated.

But on we go, selling liquor at sporting events.  Alcohol companies will continue to be sponsors  as if nothing had happened. An overdose occurs at a music event, and the effects are that the events are cancelled and scrutinized? Let's lay off the hypocrisy a little, shall we?

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What about Cigarettes? The CDC reported on August 1, 2013 that Tobacco kills more than 440,000 men, women, and victims to second-hand smoke annually. We still sell cigarettes. We still educate the general population on secondhand-smoke dangerous. We still educate smokers of risks. Bottom line, we still sell tobacco.

When we drink, we are taught to drink responsibly.
When we smoke, we are given disclaimers.
When we have sex, we are educated to protect ourselves.
When we are prescribed medications, we are given detailed instructions.

Every single one of these is easily accessible, prominent in our culture, and has the ability to kill us. So are illegal drugs. Just as easily accessible, just as dangerous- yet we pretend they don't exist. We ignore the issue. Is being educated on the proper use of them really too far-fetched to consider?

In 2012, Nick Clegg (Deputy Prime Minister, UK) stated:

We are losing the war on drugs on an industrial scale. In politics, as in life, you can't keep on doing soething that doesn't work."

Is It Time To Take A Stand? Should We? Is It Moral?

Mind stimulating party drugs including Ecstasy, 'Molly,' Acid (LSD), Ketamine, Cocaine, and more- have infamously spent the last few festival seasons making waves in the news, leaving a mysterious and dangerous wake behind with many questions left unanswered. The number of publicly reported incidents related to the consumption of party drugs has increased rapidly within the EDM Culture in the last decade; it was only a matter of time before the leaders and the backbone of EDM Culture stood up and said something about it.

In a recent article with Rolling Stone, Diplo came out with a very controversial statement, rooted in truth:

"We'd rather ignore it to solve the problem. In Florida, where I'm from, drugs have been a part of club culture since day one. Kids have always been going to raves in the woods. 20 years ago, Orlando was one of the first places to have rave culture, and we learned how to do drugs. It's going to happen; you can't control it. Persecuting a festival is not going to help it because kids are going to do them regardless. Hell, they'll do them in their houses. That's why crystal meth is a problem in America. Drugs are a big problem in America, because we have money to spend and a culture that wants to be turned up all the time."

Similarly, Jillionaire of Major Lazer stated:

"It's going to sound weird, but we need to teach kids how to do drugs, the same way we teach them about drinking responsibly and having safe sex," he said. "If you're going to go to a festival, drink water for six days before you get there; don't drink no alcohol. If you're going to do a pill and a half, don't do four more and then pass out, overheat, and die of cardiac arrest. Instead of acting like drugs don't exist, acknowledge that drugs will be at a festival and address them."

They are not the first figureheads of EDM culture to stand up to the Molly Wars... A Public Service Announcement was released in 2011, featuring the faces of Kaskade, Steve Aoki, A-Trak, Z-Trip and others- openly advertising 'harm reduction' and 'preventative' measures as opposed to a D.A.R.E crash-course.

In early September,, a non-profit educational organization came together with popular promo/apparel company, Rave Ready and together the two have taken a stand at the forefront of this battle- giving people an alternative to the standard "Say No To Drugs" standpoint. On the Rave Ready website, customers are now able to purchase a very interesting type of party-kit. The DanceSafe Adulterant Testing Kits are not designed with the intent of determining the potency of their "treats;" instead they are designed to educate users of the true contents of their purchases, the potential dangers of them, and how to ingest substances safely and carefully. Their goal is beyond the conservative cultural world- it is an entirely new level of drug-smart education.


So... What do we do now? Address it? Ignore It? Speak Up, or Sit Down?

DanceSafe on Facebook

Rave Ready on Facebook

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