The summer festival season is here. It’s Daisies and In The City this weekend, and now that trance season has kicked off in Cape Town, you won’t be able to swing a damp head sarongue without hitting a grinding jaw until at least end April. It’s not all peace and love in Rave Land though, recently a 21-year-old girl died at Earth Dance, and overseas people are dropping dead at nearly every electronic festival. The drug culture in SA is growing rapidly, ask any one of the kids jumping around in front of Niskerone at 1am where the bar is, I bet you a dab they have no idea. The problem is, there is very little education around substances, and until our event organisers change their drug policies and provide things like drug testing facilities, kids are probably going to keep dying, because they’re certainly not going to stop taking drugs.
I know I used a lot of electronic music references up there, and I’m not saying drugs are enjoyed exclusively by laser chasers, but to deny that they are used prolifically within that group (specifically MDMA and her amphetamine cousins), or that they are not in some way linked to the rapid growth of that market segment is horribly ignorant. Overseas the festival organisers have acknowledged that a large portion of their ticket sales are thanks to the people chewing their faces off at the electro stages, and they’re trying to keep them alive by providing things like drug testing facilities – because sponsors hate dead people.
We’re not there yet, but the right people are trying to effect some change. That’s more of a social responsibility issue though, and one we can get to another time. Let me get back to the issue at hand and the very reason for this post – starting a conversation around drug education. This is not a matter of condoning or condemning the use of drugs, but rather acknowledging that they are here, and making sure people at least have some information about them. So here are a few things to think about before you drop your next cap and head toward the lights.
Know your dealer
I don’t mean make friends with the dude, but don’t go in blind. Find a dealer that has a track record. Everyone knows someone who gets good stuff, get the details for their supplier. It’s more work, and you may pay more, but that’s better than going into anaphylactic shock on the dance floor.
Knowing your limit
This isn’t a race, and those aren’t tequila shots in your hand, they are class A drugs that take longer than you think to kick in, especially if you’re operating on high-time. If it’s your first time trying something, especially if it’s your first time, and you think it’s not working, wait way longer than you think before you consider having more. Then wait even longer.
Don’t fold to pier pressure, that’s weak, and if you feel like you’re going to miss out on your fair share of the fun because people keep dipping in, keep your stash separate.
Pick a rave buddy
There is a possibility that something may go wrong, even if it’s just a bad bout of paranoia or nausea. Make sure you’re with a group of friends or at least someone that’ll take you for a walk, sit you down, or give you an arm to rub till you’re feeling better. Bad trips can often be nipped in the bud if you’re with the right people.
Your rave buddy should also just generally have your back. People get taken advantage of when they are high as fuck, and having a good buddy system should prevent this.
This is no joke. I feel like I need James Earl Jones to read this out to you. If you don’t stay hydrated, you will die. Ok, you may not die, but you will feel super super shit the next day and that’ll be the best thing about passing on the water the night before. Drugs may feel rad, but your body is pulling some serious shit to deal with them while you’re foot stomping and shouting ‘I love you’ into your shirtless friends ear.
A bottle per hour should do you fine. Seriously, hydration is next to godliness when it comes to the use of controlled substances. Drink up.
Know the warning signs
It’s fine to laugh at your friend when he’s rubbing up against a tent pole, not so rad when he’s doing his impersonation of the girl from The Exorcist. Tomorrow is another day, and there are plenty more parties to come, if you’re feeling shit, or you know your friend has had too much, take a time out. Head to the medic tent if need be. That’s what they are there for, and you won’t go to jail.
Know what you’re taking
Very few of us have science labs at our disposal, but knowing, at least to a point, what you are taking is important. Choosing the right dealer is a good start, but if you plan on a long career in the drug consumption business, maybe consider ordering a testing kit online – over here.
Don’t think this is an issue? Vice just released a documentary titled ‘What’s In My Baggie?’, which focuses on the issues of drug education and knowing what you are taking, after an alarming number of tests a group of kids ran on festival goers fun packs tested positive for bath salts – remember the stuff that dude was on when he ate another mans face?
Watch it below, then click here for some good info and advice on MDMA.