"We recognise that for many clubbers, taking drugs is an integral part of their night out," said a Home Office spokesman.
March 7, 2002 5:23 AM   Subscribe

"We recognise that for many clubbers, taking drugs is an integral part of their night out," said a Home Office spokesman. The government has produced a booklet advising club owners on how to deal with drug use rather than prevent it. A realistic attitude to (inevitable) drug taking?
posted by Summer (18 comments total)
I was listening to the mother of Leah Betts on the Today programme this morning. She was, naturally, very-anti drugs but also very anti-this-initiative. The thrust of the pamphlet seems to be that clubs should be mindful of the fact that about 90% of their clientelle are battered and should act accordingly. That means having areas where people can cool off, have access to cold water (a legal requirement anyway AFAIK, if you are a licensed bar here in the UK I believe if you agree to serve someone then you cannot refuse them free tap water - you can refuse to serve for whatever reason you like but having not refused to serve them you cannot then refuse them free water - long time since I worked in pubs though), etc. The argument of Mrs Betts was that this legitamises the drug use itself.

The problem for Mrs Betts is that these drugs are already legitamised in the eyes of those who use them and were long before her daughter even tried them. They just are not going to go away. I wish they would, mad, staring e-tards, but they won't. :)

The numbers of deaths related to this particular drug are quite small, tiny considering the numbers who use it, and whilst looking for the Leah link above I think I saw figures suggesting something like 25 to 30 deaths a year.

Yes, I think this is realistic and yes, I think the drug taking is inevitable. Frankly the drunken arseholes that roam the streets of Bradford on a Friday / Saturday night drive me to want to escape from reality but not be like them.
posted by vbfg at 6:20 AM on March 7, 2002

You have to be on drugs to enjoy a rave. It would be cruel to expect people to partake without allowing them to be totally off their heads. What the government really needs to work on is ensuring that UK drugs are safe, effective, and affordable. Dealers should be locked up for the crap that they pass off as drugs in this country. They are a disgrace to their profession. To my mind, if they are not capable of doing the job properly then get rid of them. Again, the problem stems from the inflexibility of our immigration laws. We need to start being progress, and except that there is nothing wrong with sourcing talent from abroad if it is lacking in this country. The UK drug industry has been a joke for the last 25 years, and is getting worse. To my mind the government has to bite the bullet, except that UK drug pushing is pathetically inadequate, and bring in top Colombians to sort the situation out.
posted by RobertLoch at 6:44 AM on March 7, 2002

vbfg: i hear ya... i work there :)

RobertLoch: You have a point. I think heard once that if all E's were actual genuine E's, then it wouldn't be so much of a problem.

Still, it's something I personally don't go near. Hell, I don't drink much nowadays either :)

Man, 19 years old and sounds like an old fart...
posted by robzster1977 at 6:58 AM on March 7, 2002

God I'm illiterate. Replace progress with progressive - and except with accept. That is what drugs do to your mind.

Actually I've never taken anything that could even vaguely be described as hard. robzster I was taking the piss, however there is some truth in that arguement.

If drugs were not addictive, had no downside, and were affordable to the masses, what would be wrong with people taking them? Following on from that, my point is that shouldn't someone, somewhere, be working on developing drugs along those lines.
posted by RobertLoch at 7:15 AM on March 7, 2002

I've only done E once; it hardly seemed addictive. I did it with some people who know quite a lot about the chemical processes involved; they had plenty of water on hand, as well as other substances like HTP to make sure the whole experience was healthy. It's my understanding that most, if not all, deaths related to E use occur because the users dehydrate. Since most users are probably going to take the drugs before they show up at the club anyway, it makes perfect sense for the clubowners to understand what they can do to make sure that the users have what they need to survive the night.
posted by bingo at 7:45 AM on March 7, 2002

Leah Betts died from taking on excess water, not dehydration. Read the link above for extra info on the hows and whys.
posted by vbfg at 7:53 AM on March 7, 2002

vbfg I'd need further evidence before believing that.
posted by RobertLoch at 8:04 AM on March 7, 2002

bingo, Tony Wilson of Hacienda/Factory records 'fame' made exactly this point in this recent interview about the forthcoming Madchester film.

Sixteen year old Claire Leighton was the first nationally publicised 'Victim' of Ecstacy in the UK and her death marked the end of the 'Summer of Love' for the UK, when even the national newspapers had been printing their own 'acid smiley' t-shirts.

The problem lay in the fact that she, as Wilson puts it,

'bought an ecstasy tablet in Stockport, took it on the A40, but died in our club'

The emphasis on the Government booklet is to make sure that the conditions do not pose a threat to clubbers once they have taken something. If people like Claire Leighton and Leah Betts had been more informed about drug use in the first place, it as arguable that they would never have suffered as they did. More importantly, the government needs to prosecute those venues that turn the air-conditioning and tap water in the toilets off, as is depressingly common practice in UK clubs.

Also, there is no implication that the use or sale of drugs will be any less illegal. It is a refreshing, but sadly rare, case of a sensible approach to a controversial topic.
posted by barnsoir at 8:06 AM on March 7, 2002

wow! home office and common sense appear in the same sentence without the emphasis on the negative!
this is indeed what drugs awareness campaigns have been saying, well, forever.
if you want to know more about ecstasy, a good place to start is nicholas saunders' book 'ecstasy - reconsidered'.
while we are on the subject of water intoxication (leah betts), again it is the information about this possible side effect of drinking too much water could have prevented leah's death.
posted by asok at 8:07 AM on March 7, 2002

Ok, so water intoxication caused by taking Ecstasy in combination with a large amount of water. I thought that it was implying you could die simply through drinking too much water, which I'd argue would be a very difficult thing to do. I used to drink 10 litres a day when living in the Middle East, and that was without even going outside. I just got in the habit of drinking a lot, and air conditioning makes you feel dehyraded.
posted by RobertLoch at 8:22 AM on March 7, 2002

drug use accelerates natural selection, therefore it is absolutely necessary to give the right information to users that don't know what they are getting themselves into.

if you want straight up advice about drugs, go to erowid.org, where you can hear the good bad and just plain ghastly. here's the ecstacy section for the sake of easy navigation.
posted by will at 9:08 AM on March 7, 2002

People here aren't really saying you should drive less, because I admit that public transportation stinks (Luckly, I can take BART easily to/from work every day, but I know that's not possible for many people. ) But why do you have to drive a big, huge, gas guzzling car?

There are a lot of station wagons out there that are very very safe. In fact, the VW stationwagon and the new Saturn station wagon were rated highest for safety this year. A suburban and many SUV's aren't that safe anyway...remember the small rollover problem?

You're much safer in a Volvo stationwagon than a SUV. And if you drive a long way to work, you should get a smaller car. It's your responsibility to the world and future generations.
posted by aacheson at 10:22 AM on March 7, 2002

Okay, whoops, somehow I posted this to the wrong conversation. How embarassing! -A
posted by aacheson at 10:24 AM on March 7, 2002

in addition to erowid as mentioned a few posts up, lycaeum and bluelight are also reasonable sources of information.
posted by juv3nal at 12:57 PM on March 7, 2002

I was totally amazed when I read this post, thinking "wow, our government does those 'drug money pays for terror' ads and then turns around and does something enlightened as this?" Then I realized it was a UK link. *sigh*

RobertLoch, you reminded me of something. Runners get hyponatremia, too.
posted by whatnot at 1:15 PM on March 7, 2002

Here's a link to the Home Office booklet itself:  the Safer Clubbing Guide (965KB PDF).
posted by Owen Boswarva at 1:17 PM on March 7, 2002

As for "what's wrong with doing drugs that aren't addictive," they still have the effect of making one less aware of their surroundings and making decisions which one would not normally make. For this reason alone, there's something wrong with them (though the same could be said for excessive drinking).

Though, I must note that I think drugs should be legalized, merely because the amount of users would not change with legalization and we'd at least get some 'safety' (as far as not having extra-toxic combinations and the like) as well as tax revenue.
posted by Kevs at 6:53 PM on March 7, 2002

Kevs: The "less aware of their surroundings" thing is pretty arguable, depending on the drug; some would argue that certain drugs make you more aware of your surroundings (and of yourself), and that's why you take them to begin with.

As for making decisions that you would not normally make...it's not as if any illegal drug will cause the user to make decisions completely at random. It depends on the drug, and it depends on the situation, and people who know what they're doing take that into consideration when they're deciding where and when to do the drug. Just as you know better than to get drunk in front of your boss, an E user should know better than to dose while, say, working construction. And if everyone made decisions like they were smoking marijuana, the world would be a much more pleasant place.
posted by bingo at 9:27 PM on March 7, 2002

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