Dr. Henry Paul, MD

Psychiatrist, Author and Educator


June 5th, 2015

If you’ve got a teenager in the house than you need to know about “raves.” A rave party is typically an all-night, ear-splitting underground party that features electronic music. Ever heard of Daft Punk? Now Grammy Award winners, they got their start as a “rave” band.

23354899_sThese raves are held in places like warehouses, rental halls, barns, and open-air spaces where kids go crazy and, almost always, find drugs in abundance. The drugs available at raves may not be familiar to you, but they ought to be. Their effects are alarming and potentially life threatening.

The rave party phenomenon has been around for more than 20 years. It started in the UK and quickly spread to the US; particularly to the West Coast. It didn’t take long for it to spread across the country. The drugs offered at the raves primarily keep kids (yes, they are marketing to kids) energetic and dancing all night. Club drugs, as they are known, are dangerous, and parents need to know what they are and what the signs are that their kids may be taking them.

Most of the club drugs are made illegally, come from unknown sources, and are made with various mixes of unknown chemicals. On their own or mixed with alcohol and other drugs, they can be catastrophically toxic and sometimes fatal. Adding to their danger is that little is known about their toxicity making it difficult to treat overdoses.

Many of these drugs are colorless, odorless and tasteless posing a serious threat for young unsuspecting teens. Since some of these drugs cause amnesia, date rape and unrecalled sexual assault is one frequent outcome. Teens who take these drugs may often engage in risky sex that they don’t remember, and that exposes them to contracting sexually transmitted diseases including HIV and Hepatitis C.

Research has shown that club drugs have long-lasting effects on muscle tissue and the brain, especially memory functions. Combined with alcohol, as they often are at rave parties, their effects become potentially fatal. In 2013, there were four deaths linked to the club drug Molly. These deaths opened a nationwide dialogue about the use of illegal stimulants at concerts, raves and electronic dance music shows. It also shed some light on the music venues and the difficulties encountered by organizers to keep those substances out.

Last year, I wrote about the club drug Molly and its dangers. I will highlight some of the other drugs (cocaine, meth, LSD, etc.) that are popular with teens in my next blog. I’ll also discuss what to do if you suspect that your child is taking these drugs.

Learn more about Molly: 

Molly: Why the Club Drug is so Dangerous
Club Drug ‘Molly’ Eyed in Four Deaths
There’s Something about Molly

This blog is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended as medical or psychiatric advice for individual conditions or treatment and does not substitute for a medical or psychiatric examination. A psychiatrist must make a determination about any treatment or prescription. Dr. Paul does not assume any responsibility or risk for the use of any information contained within this blog.


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