Pubdate: Mon, 04 Feb 2002
Source: Blade, The (OH)
Copyright: 2002 The Blade
Author: Christina Hall
Bookmark: (Club Drugs)
Bookmark: (Ecstasy)


Christy Maxwell said she doesn't take club drugs, but she's heard a lot 
about them.

The University of Toledo sophomore said she has heard classmates talk about 
how easily they can get club drugs, such as Ecstasy and GHB (gamma 
hydroxybutyrate), Ketamine, and Rohypnol, which also are known as date rape 

"It's not a big topic," the 20-year-old pharmacy major said. When students 
do talk about drugs, however, "it's a lot of Ecstasy."

That's no surprise to area law enforcement officers and drug prevention 
agencies, who are recording an increase either in the use of club drugs - 
particularly Ecstasy - or in reports about the drugs in their communities.

"Kids are told that cocaine and other drugs are dangerous. But they're told 
by their peers that [club drugs] are OK and that they make you feel good 
and safe and give a feeling of euphoria," said Sgt. Bob Marzec of the 
Toledo police vice narcotics section.

"There are more and more people trying to make it in their clandestine 
labs. They don't have to get them from Colombia. You can put them together 
in your basement. They're also easy to ship in a small package," he said.

Club drugs primarily are used by teens and young adults who are part of the 
nightclub, bar, rave, or trance scene. Raves and trances are night-long 
dances with loud music and lights that often are held in warehouses, 
sometimes without permission. While many attendees don't use the drugs, 
those who do are attracted to the cost, increased stamina, and intoxicating 
highs that are said to deepen the experience.

But science is showing change to critical parts of the brain from the use 
of club drugs. In high doses, most of them can cause an increase in body 
temperature, leading to muscle breakdown and kidney and cardiovascular 
system failure, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which is 
part of the National Institutes of Health.

Club drugs have been more popular among middle and upper-class whites, but 
Toledo narcotics detectives said they're hearing that Ecstasy and similar 
drugs are surfacing in central-city drug houses and are being given to 
young black girls at parties. The drugs also are being offered at 
after-hours and dance club-type bars.

Area authorities said they believe club drugs are arriving in northwest 
Ohio and southeast Michigan from Detroit, New York, and Canada.

Ecstasy is one of the more popular club drugs. The tablets are available in 
various colors and often are stamped with a picture or image. It sells for 
$20 to $30 a pill.

"It's not readily recognizable. It could be pink today, yellow tomorrow, 
and blue next week," said Michigan State Police Lt. Lorenzo Veal of the 
Office of Monroe Narcotics Investigations, which is made up of law 
enforcement officers from various agencies in Monroe County.

But users may be getting more than they bargained for in some of the pills, 
authorities warned. Sometimes they may contain amounts of other dangerous 
drugs, such as methamphetamine.

"What also makes them so dangerous is you don't know the dose you're 
taking," said Capt. Don Kenney, of the Toledo police special enforcement 

His detectives arrested 21 people and seized $1,500 worth of Ecstasy Jan. 
20 when they raided a rave party at a warehouse on Adams Street. A month 
earlier, they arrested four people and seized $30,000 worth of Ecstasy in 
East Toledo.

Last month, a Toledo man who was part of a major distribution ring for 
Ecstasy in northwest Ohio was sentenced to two years in prison. The Drug 
Enforcement Agency said the operation that led to his arrest and others was 
the largest Ecstasy investigation ever for the area. More than 4,000 
Ecstasy pills were seized.

GHB often is used as a clear liquid. A dose can be from a few drops to a 
glassful. It's often mixed with a colored drink. Ketamine, a white powder 
similar to cocaine, and Rohypnol, a small white tablet, haven't surfaced 
much in the city, Toledo drug investigators said.

However, psilocybin or so-called "magic mushrooms" are becoming popular. On 
Jan. 3, the Ohio Highway Patrol seized 23 pounds of them on the Ohio 
Turnpike near Maumee. It is the largest amount of the hallucinogen ever 
confiscated in Ohio.

Jay Salvage, executive director of the Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services 
Board of Lucas County, said club drugs haven't been identified as a main 
issue with people in the agency's treatment programs.

"Research shows substance abuse is not a central-city issue, it's just more 
visible [there]," he said. "The use is spreading to rural and suburban areas."

Lucas County Sheriff James Telb said his deputies and other area law 
enforcement officers are educating themselves about club drugs because they 
expect to see more of them in their communities.

"We saw it happen with heroin, cocaine, crack, and marijuana. The situation 
started in the city, a lot of time in the central city. It wasn't too long 
to follow that the suburban areas had been impacted. That's been the trend 
or pattern of drug use," he said.

Sylvania Township police Chief Gary Copeland and Perrysburg Township police 
Chief Dennis Dauer said their departments haven't made any big club drug 
busts or arrests, nor have they found rave parties in their jurisdictions. 
Although their officers have heard about a slight increase in club drug 
use, the chiefs said they have had no firm evidence and believe that more 
people are using marijuana and cocaine.

"You hear about [club drugs] but your hands are tied," Chief Dauer said. 
"You're not sure where to go or to investigate until someone lands in the 
hospital or a parent reports something out of the ordinary."

Jason House, 20, a UT sophomore studying computer science and engineering, 
said he doesn't think club drug use is "really that big" in this area.

He said he goes to clubs and never has been offered the drugs. But he said 
he's heard about a handful of people who have tried Ecstasy.

"It made them feel good," he said. "They liked it."

A survey conducted by the University of Michigan Institute for Social 
Research found that the use of Ecstasy continued to increase among 
teenagers last year, although at a slower rate than in previous years. 
Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the 
Monitoring the Future survey did indicate an increase in the drug's 
availability, with many 12th graders saying they could get Ecstasy "fairly" 
or "very" easily.

"We're hearing from our kids that [club drugs] are more prevalent and more 
widespread," said Deacon Dzierzawski, executive director of The Community 
Partnership, a nonprofit coalition dedicated to substance abuse prevention 
and intervention.

Traci Jadlos, the group's community youth coordinator, said she spoke with 
about a dozen public and private school students in November. All of them 
said they knew someone in their schools who could get them Ecstasy within a 
short period of time.

"That's scary," she said.
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