Rave: Should Club Drugs Be Legalized? Essay, Research Paper
It?s All the Rave: Should Club Drugs Be Legalized?
It?s 7 o?clock on a Saturday morning and while some teenagers are enjoying the extra hours of sleep, many are still bouncing around to the sounds of techno music. Thousands of teenagers and even some adults are stuffed into an old warehouse decorated with black lights, disco balls, and tons of smoke machines. Their hearts are pounding and their pulse is racing at the speed of light, all compliments of designer drugs known as club drugs. Changing the molecular structure of an existing drug or drugs to create a new substance creates designer drugs. Since unlicensed and untrained amateurs create designer drugs in clandestine laboratories, they can be dangerous. Given names such as Ecstasy, Special K, and acid; designer drugs are common words within the walls of the warehouse. The all night dance parties, known as raves, are about the wildest thing going from midnight till dawn ? and often beyond. Raves are becoming more popular than ever and designer drugs are becoming even easier to get a hold of. Some believe that legalizing drugs will cut down on the usage by teenagers by reducing the thrill of using them. Legalizing drugs may or may not reduce the usage, but it will play an important part on society.
Ecstasy, also known as X-T-C or E, was known as MDMA in the mid 1980?s and it wasn?t until the early 1990?s that it became known as Ecstasy, X-T-C, or E. Often times the drug can contain other psychoactive substances, commonly amphetamine (speed). LSD (acid) has been found on occasions in a small number of pills. The pills, often resembling Tylenols, average $10-$40 per roll. The high from E, known as a roll, usually last through the night and can produce a sense of well being or sensory distortions. Often times E has caused brain damage in animals. It depletes a very important chemical in the brain, serotonin, which regulates mood, sleeping and eating habits, thinking processes, aggressive behavior, sexual function, and sensitivity to pain. It is probably the action on the serotonin system that gives E its reported properties of heightened sexual experience, tranquility and conviviality that attracts teenagers (Foster 1). ?It (ecstasy) makes you feel like sharing everything: cigarettes, water?love, ? explains 23 year-old Bianka Lambert, a raver from Ottawa, Canada (Wright 4). Users of Ecstasy at raves can sometimes experience dehydration or exhaustion from the non-stop dancing, and a few users have even died from a heat stroke.
The use of Ecstasy has led to more powerful drugs such as Ketamine, known on the streets as Special K, K, or Vitamin K. A pharmaceutical company first synthesized Ketamine in the 1960?s to be used as an anesthetic for surgeries. Ketamine is mostly used in veterinary offices in order to relax pets before surgery. Special K, or powdered Ketamine, emerged as a recreational drug in the 1970?s and was known as Vitamin K in the underground club scene in the 1980?s. It resurfaced in the 1990?s as Special K in the rave scene. Normally found in an injectable form, it is converted to powder and re-packaged into small Ziploc bags or capsules. This powerful hallucinogen is generally snorted, and is occasionally sprinkled on tobacco or marijuana and smoked. Special K is usually combined with other drugs, such as Ecstasy or cocaine, to enhance the high. The high, called the ?K-Hole? can last anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours and can produce profound hallucinations that include visual distortions and a lost sense of time and identity. Sold by the vials, K runs around $10-$30 and is available widely throughout raves. ??It?s the bomb,? gushes Tom, a sweaty 15-year-old with a struggling goatee. ?It makes you feel like this,? he says, rolling his eyes up as if he is staring at his brain. ?It?s dreamy. You see the lights, like, bend.??(Cloud 1).
The most common form of hallucinogen and the easiest to get at raves, is LSD. Commonly known as ?acid?, it is sold for $3-$5 a hit and can last up to 12 hours. The high from acid is known as a trip. The effects of the trip are unpredictable and they depend on the amount taken and the user?s personality at the time the acid is dropped. The user?s surroundings also play an important role in the effects of the acid. Usually, the user begins to feel the first effects from the acid 30 minutes after taken. After 90 minutes the trip is in full effect. The physical effects of the drug include dilated pupils, muscle tightness, higher body temperature, increases heart rate and blood pressure, sw0eating, loss of appetite, sleeplessness, dry mouth, and tremors. A person?s sensations and feelings change much more dramatically than the physical signs. The user may feel several different moods at once or may swing from one mood to another very rapidly. If taken at a high enough dosage the drug produces delusions and visual hallucinations and the user?s sense of time and self change. Sensations may seem cross over, giving the user the feeling of hearing colors and seeing sounds. Many users say the drug causes boundaries between the self and other to disappear, also known as melting. These changes can be frightening and can cause extreme panic. Once the trip is over, a person may still feel confused and somewhat panicked. Many LSD users experience flashbacks of the drug?s effect on the body. A flashback can occur suddenly, often without warning, and may occur within a few days or up to a year after LSD use.
The use of designer drugs is widespread throughout the rave scene. The availability of designer drugs is larger than ever. When asked, over 50 percent of high school seniors said they knew they could get ecstasy ?fairly easily? or ?very easily? if needed (Davis 2). So, what is the answer to winning this drug war? It seems as if the cry of ?legalize drugs!? is being heard everywhere from liberals as well as conservatives. Some people argue that legalizing drugs is the only way to win the drug war, but the consequences of legalizing drugs would make an already large problem completely out of control. Many conservatives will argue that individuals have the right to do as they please, as long as they do not harm anyone else. If this true, do women have the right to walk around topless–after all, men do it all the time. Which is more harmful, a women walking around without her shirt on or her tripping on acid? Point being, we are not allowed to do what we want, when we please. For instance, LSD flashbacks can occur at anytime, so if a person stays inside their own home and trips on acid, they can?t hurt anyone, right? After all, it is in their private home. Let?s say that a flashback occurs several months after taking LSD. Is that person sitting in their home again or are they driving? If the flashback occurs while driving and an accident occurs, will people be so quick to say that the driver?s ?choice? to take acid didn?t hurt anyone else? People and their rights don?t exist when something illegal is involved. The notion that drugs only hurt the people that take them is superficial. One needs to look beyond their selves and look at the whole picture, and it then becomes obvious that drugs hurt more than just the user. According to a 1994 Newsweek report on child abuse, ?Drugs now suffuse 80 percent of the caseload; sexual and physical assaults that once taxed the imagination are now common (Kaye 58).? Don?t say that taking drugs only hurt the user, tell it to the crack babies, who didn?t choose to take drugs.
In addition, if taking Ecstasy or Special K is an individuals choice, then isn?t it also their choice to take any other drug they wish? With this is mind, what about the drugs that are available by prescription only? Let?s say, a young teenage girl, 5?7?, 115 pounds, feels as if she is overweight and wants to take the prescription diet pill, Phen-Fen. First, one needs a prescription to obtain the drug and a doctor won?t write the prescription unless deemed necessary. It obvious the girl is not overweight, but it is her choice to take the drug, right? Secondly, this drug is now been removed from the market due to the dangerous side effects too. How can the government prohibit prescription drugs when such drugs as marijuana, Ketamine, MDMA, and LSD are all available at any time? In other words, the government must either eliminate the need for prescriptions for all drugs and allow ?banned? drugs, or we are going to have safer drugs harder to get than the more dangerous drugs.
Some researchers believe that legalizing drugs will reduce the thrill of drugs and people will cut down on the usage of drugs. There are just as many points supporting legalization of drugs as there are ones opposing making drugs legal. Legalizing drugs would destroy dealer profits and remove their incentive to get young people attached. By legalizing drugs, controlled and designer, it would also save the government millions of dollars by cutting down the need for controlling drug prevention. If drugs were legalized then this would ?strike a double blow?, by reducing crime activity directly and at the same time increase the efficacy of law enforcement and crime prevention (Burke 1). Look at tobacco, the most addictive drug, and the government-reduced usage by a third. Limiting the age of which drugs would be legal would also play a role in reducing the desire for young children to get attached. Tobacco products and alcohol products both have legal ages for purchasing and consuming and although there are some problems that are involved, the usage has reduced significantly. According to Steven B. Duke, author of American?s Longest War: Rethinking Our Tragic Crusade Against Drugs, believes, ?Our biggest, worst drug problem is the tobacco problem. Legalizing drugs will reduce the use of alcohol, which is far more damaging than any popular illegal drug? (Burke 3).
Ecstasy, Special K, and acid will continue to be a part of the rave scene, even if drugs do become legal. The usage may decline, but there will always the dedicated raver who looks forward to rolling, snorting some K, or tripping. The techno music will still be around and the parties will still go on. The government can try all they want, but the ?black market? for drugs will still be here. Legalizing drugs or keeping them illegal will not change the way society views drugs. For so long, drugs have always been considered ?bad? and children were taught from a young age not to do drugs. None of this will ever change and everything will still be the same.