Friends, it’s about time we have a talk. It’s a touchy subject. It’s a preachy subject. It’s one that’s close to the heart of the EDM scene and that’s drugs.
To get things out in the open so you all can start judging me now, I’ve never done drugs. Well… I’ve sniffed Sharpies and I happen to like the smell of paint thinner and glue, but I’ve never done drugs. I don’t drink either. Why? My family has a huge history of addiction and for me to participate in any of that would be like me trying to drink from the fire hose. I already know from other bad habits in my life that I have the same addictive personality that my uncle does. He is just now kicking a heroin addiction that he endured for about forty years.
The reason for this post is the tragic events at Electric Zoo over the weekend. According to reports, two “kids” in their early 20’s died from an overdose of ecstasy. Olivia Rotondo and Jeffrey Russ were just 2 people among 100,000 people, but their numbers came up when they “overdosed” on August 31st at the music festival. Let’s be clear though, the article is calling this an ecstasy overdoses when more likely, it was cut with something other than ecstasy that did it. If anybody dies from ecstasy, it’s due to dehydration and overheating. In addition to the two deaths, a 16-year-old girl (who was probably given a roofie) was found under a van and had been sexually assaulted at the event and four others had to be hospitalized due to drug overdoses. That’s not even counting the additional arrests at the event. Given the deaths and other incidents, the organizers of the event had to cancel the show under pressure from the city.
I’m outraged enough about the deaths. I think the drug use in our scene is moronic. I do recognize and understand that it’s been there from the start and probably always will be. That said, is this generation ignorant about the past? Is Kevin right? Have we failed to educate in regards to what drugs did to the scene in the late 90’s? It looks like that might be the case.
EDM is on the rise again in North America, but if we forget the past, if we forget how drugs pretty much shut down massives for a decade after the threat of the RAVE Act and the actual passage of the Illicit Drug Anti-Proliferation Act, we’re doomed to repeat history.
Again, it’s a horrible tragedy that two people died this weekend, but let that be a wake-up call to us rather than something we gloss over. Sure 2 dead out of 100,000 people isn’t statistically significant, but if our scene is truly to be one of love and acceptance, we have got to reach out to one another and not just educate them about what happened with the Illicit Drug Anti-Proliferation Act in the late 90’s and early 00’s, but we need to reach out and help those who do have problems with drugs and alcohol. We need to help them learn that they can have fun without them and perhaps even have fewer regrets in the morning (or late afternoon in some cases.)
I know it’s cool to go old skool. I know that’s what some of these new clubbers are trying to do, but they’re being stupid. I don’t expect one person who is reading this to stop using drugs. I’m certainly not calling for any more laws regarding drugs or even their legalization. I’m just asking that you consider what happened over the weekend and that you tell someone about the dangers of drugs like ecstasy. Tell them that you love them and that you want them to be able to party again some other day. Tell them that when they buy it at a show from someone they don’t know that they may not have the real thing. Tell them everything that you know so they won’t make the same mistakes that Olivia Rotondo and Jeffrey Russ have made.