L.A. health officials give tips on safe Ecstasy use at raves
Health officials in Los Angeles County have published guidelines on how to use the drug Ecstasy safely. The Ecstasy guide is an effort to prevent future Ecstasy overdoses at publicly sanctioned raves in Los Angeles sports arenas. An L.A. County supervisor called the Ecstasy use guidelines “stupid” and demanded that they stop circulating.
Ecstasy use and rave safety
An Ecstasy overdose killed a 15-year-old girl at a rave held at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum last June. To help prevent future Ecstasy overdoses, the Los Angeles Public Health Department created an Ecstasy flier to be distributed at future raves held in the Coliseum and the Los Angeles Sports Arena. The Ecstasy flier covers how to recognize an Ecstasy overdose and recommends steps to avoid overdosing on Ecstasy. Warnings against mixing Ecstasy with alcohol and other drugs are included, as well as recommendations to minimize Ecstasy risks by “aiming low” in dosage and frequency. Rave attendees are also advised to take frequent breaks, drink lots of water and refrain from driving.
Ecstasy is not a harmless high
Ecstasy was classified as a “Schedule 1” controlled substance in 1985, grouping it with marijuana, cocaine, LSD and heroin. Although Ecstasy is illegal, the drug is easy to get and popular for its effects, which are similar to a combination of amphetamines and hallucinogens. Many young Ecstasy users believe the drug is harmless. But street labs often mix toxic impurities and additional drugs into Ecstasy formulas. Ecstasy users expect increased energy and confidence as well as a profound sense of well-being. Symptoms of an Ecstasy overdose include confusion, vomiting, fainting, tremors and loss of bodily control. Long-term Ecstasy use depletes serotonin, a vital brain chemical that regulates mood, sleep, appetite, cognition and sexual function
Rave safety backlash
The health department’s guidelines for safe Ecstasy use outraged L.A. County Supervisor Mike Antonovich. In a statement, Antonovich said “Counseling young people on the use of the illegal drug Ecstasy is stupid and contrary to Los Angeles County’s zero-tolerance policy on drugs.” Public health officials, who developed the guidelines with recommendations from a rave safety tax force, said the guidelines included potentially life-saving information for ravers who are going to take Ecstasy even though the drug is illegal. However, they did agree to add a stronger statement about the dangers of illegal drugs.