Pubdate: Fri, 28 Feb 2003
Source: West Hawaii Today (HI)
Copyright: 2003 West Hawaii Today
Author: Tiffany Edwards
Bookmark: (Ecstasy)
Bookmark: (Club Drugs)


HILO - "The flower children of the 21 century" playing a dangerous game is
how a Florida detective described rave partygoers.

In warehouses, nightclubs, after hours and on island beaches with
generators, running lights and sound systems, raves are all - night parties
where attendees dance to electronic trance music, according to Mark
Middleton, of the Martin County Sheriff's Office, 30 miles north of West
Palm Beach, Fla. Between 50 to 80 percent of the ravegoers are using drugs,
including those found in bathroom medicine cabinets, he said.

Middleton, 44, has studied the rave culture for the past six years.

Thursday he gave a county Department of Liquor Control - sponsored
presentation to increase awareness of raves and drugs to about 100
attendees: liquor inspectors, police officers, prosecutors, a private
security manager, educators and Big Island Substance Abuse Council

"Kids are 'playing' with a lot of different things right now," Middleton
said. He advised if children say they are going to an alcohol - free party,
that should be "clue number one: Alcohol and these drugs don't mix."

Middleton spoke of rave parties where young people wore dust masks saturated
in cold medication or sucked on nitrous oxide as they danced. Some have
pacifiers in their mouths, Middleton said, since a side effect "ecstasy" is
teeth grinding. 

Ecstasy, or methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), Middleton described as a
"hybrid" of methamphetamine and mescaline. The difference between ecstasy
and methamphetamine is the user doesn't become violent, he said. Middleton
said ecstasy in pill form at $20 - $25 each is popular at raves, along with
"Special K" or Ketamine, an animal tranquilizer, at $5 to $10 each. 

Also popular are marijuana, mushrooms, LSD and GHB - the acronyms for
lysergic acid diethylamide and gamma hydroxy butyrate.

Middleton said drug - using ravegoers are "cocktailing," "candy - flipping"
or "bumping," using various drugs while partying. 

He said GHB is the drug of choice for sexual predators since high dosages
will cause victims to sleep, black out and forget a sexual assault. 

He said raves are frequented by all ages and the culture "hides behind" a
New Age philosophy.

"These are the flower children of 2000 versus the flower children of the
'60s," he said. "PLUR" is a common term among ravegoers, being an acronym
for "peace, love, unity and respect."

Middleton shared the ways he has found various drugs disguised, like the
manufacturing of ecstasy pills with holes through the middle so they can be
strung into "candy" necklaces.

"Kids will gnaw on ecstasy right in front of you and you have no clue what's
going on," he said. Middleton said ecstasy pills are stored in softened
Tootsie Roll candies, Pez dispensers and, in at least one case, a bag of
Skittles. He said liquid ecstasy and GHB are typically kept in Visine
bottles, and sometimes liquid LSD is put on gum. 

Middleton pulled from a suitcase several pairs of shoes, hats and pants he
got off the Internet at rave - related sites to demonstrate how each of them
have hidden compartments. 

He encouraged parents to pay attention and be aware of what their children
are doing and even the lyrics of their music.
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