Parental Concern About Drugs at Raves Is Warranted – Underground or Public – Attendees Are At Risk

The Narconon Drug Education approach has for decades enabled teens to stand up to peer pressure when faced with offers to take drugs. Never has the challenge been greater than today. In addition to teen parties, mini (2000)and mega raves (200,000) often lasting more than 8 hours and even multiple days act like magnets that attract the 18 year-old and older set into packed venues and easy access to drugs.

Lehigh University, a four year private college in Pennsylvania was the subject of headlines on Dec. 5, 2011. “At least 44 (later corrected to 35) from Lehigh U. rave party taken to hospitals for drugs and alcohol – Incident is being called ‘mass casualty’ event that burdened emergency responders. The event was the rave Dayglow.

The event venue was Phillip Rauch Field House, which bears signage: “Alcoholic beverages are not permitted in any Lehigh athletic facility.” Yet all ambulance incidents were reported as alcohol and substance abuse related by campus police.

Rave promoters generally seek to play down in the media that illegal drugs are part of the rave scene, but the premise is preposterous, if only because human stamina requires drugs to keep up the 128 beats per minute pulse of typical house music. Parents of 18 year olds may hope the draw is just the music, but evidence is clearly otherwise. Today’s public rave concerts are big business. Like any business they do what is required to protect their market share and adhere to their successful formulas –  including an unspoken invitation to get very, very high.

“Law enforcement officers can do little to curtail drug abuse that takes place at raves. Promoters set minimum age for their events at 18 hoping to escape fault, but the ambulances roll and in the wake of events lives can be ruined and sometimes lost,” says Bobby Wiggins, senior Drug Prevention Specialist at Narconon International. “Promoters generally shrug off responsibility, apologize or offer condolences as required of them when incidents occur.”

There is a further factor of risk beyond emergency room incidents that Narconon® has addressed for decades – serious addiction. Studies show that the tendency for teens to use drugs is laid in years before they enter their first rave. As stated in the white paper, Non-Medical Marijuana III: Rite of Passage or Russian Roulette? (first issued in 1999) by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, these are facts:

  1. Most illicit drug users begin their illicit drug use with marijuana; their use of this drug usually is preceded by the use of alcohol and nicotine.
  2. Research indicates that the earlier drug use is initiated, the higher the risk for abuse and dependence. In 2006, for adults 21 and older who first tried marijuana at age 14 or younger, 10.4 percent were classified with illicit drug abuse or dependence compared to 2.0 percent of adults who had first used marijuana at age 18 or older.

Wiggins says that Narconon Drug Prevention services are available to youth throughout their school experience, but there is a crucial time. “You want to focus your most diligent drug education at or before kids are considering experimenting with drugs. We understand the mindset that it is important to a pre-teen to be accepted by peers, which means peer pressure has to lean heavily against drugs for that child to be safe. The Narconon approach accomplishes that by giving very real and very accurate information that can actually turn most children totally off to drugs. It really can be done.”

In an effort to reach students on the brink of their partying years, Friends of Narconon, a sister organization of Narconon International raised funds to produce Xstasy the Real Story Parts 1 and 2. “We wanted to present information about ecstasy (MDMA) in particular because of its direct association with the rave scene, and we wanted young people to be able to relate to the actual situations they could be facing,” says Wiggins. “Hundreds of 1000s of kids have seen the film and they really get the picture. I feel confident we have prevented a lot of ruined lives, but much more needs to be done.”

Narconon Drug Education presenters are a ready resource to parents who are concerned about whether their sons or daughters are prepared for the tough choices that lie ahead of them. Contact Narconon International to be put in touch with the most immediate resource to your area schools.

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