‘Laws ineffective in curbing club drugs in US’

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New York, Aug 18 (IANS) The 2003 RAVE (Reducing Americans’ Vulnerability to Ecstasy) Act, enacted by the US to curb the use of club drugs, is doing more harm than good, says a study.

The law has failed to reduce the popularity of club drug ecstasy and, instead, has further endangered users by hampering the use of measures to protect them, the findings showed.

“The RAVE Act is a relic of the war on drugs,” said author Tammy Anderson, professor of sociology at University of Delaware in the US.

“It never worked in the past, and it is not working now,” she added.

The act was designed to address the use of drugs, sometimes by very young teens, at the all-night electronic-dance-music parties known as raves that were especially common in the 1990s.

The law targeted club owners and promoters, holding them criminally responsible for illegal drug use at their events.

And that is the problem, Anderson noted.

Before the law was passed, raves often provided services to help protect participants who were using drugs: free bottled water was available to combat the dehydration that can occur, for example, and security staff patrolled the event on the lookout for anyone in distress who might need medical care.

“Today, clubs and promoters are reluctant to take those precautions because it could be used as evidence against them,” Anderson said.

They sometimes even fail to summon medical help when needed, she said.

Participants now widely use the drug Molly – for MDMA, the ingredient in ecstasy – to stay awake for what is often a 24-hour party.

Deaths from the use of Molly are not uncommon, Anderson said.

The study is forthcoming in the journal Contexts.

Last modified: August 25, 2014

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