Avoiding Problems at Raves
Rave parties are distinct all night parties, which are usually alcohol free but often drugs such as ketamine, GHB, and ecstasy are present. Several rave related deaths have occurred in 1999 prompting people to look for ways to avoid similar types of deaths. Trying to ban raves all together, similar to prohibition is an unsuitable answer because the parties will continue to .
run underground and remain out of the public eye. Instead health authorities have made some recommendations to the rave communities in cities such as Toronto, to implement safety precautions for those who love to join in the cosmic festivities.

Health authorities hope that talking openly and honestly about the drugs used at raves will begin to discourage people's use of them, through education and awareness.

Some of the main drugs used at raves include, Gamma- hydroxybutyrate (GHB), which is odorless and colorless. Other names for this drug are liquid ecstasy, liquid, and G. Its main use is to induce euphoria. It also has been used as a date rape drug. Side effects include aggression, poor judgment and coma.

Ketamine (kit kat, special K) is an anesthetic drug that can cause hallucinations and may lead to respiratory depression and catatonia
Ecstasy (E, X, XTC, Love, and Adam) can cause an over all heightened awareness as well as sensual awareness. Deaths have occurred due to fatal hyperthermia, kidney failure, seizures and cardiac arrhythmias all of which are possible side affects when taking ecstasy

The above street drugs go by numerous names all of which change rapidly, and are recognized in different parts of the country by different street names. A major concern about the distribution of illegal drugs is their consistency. Often these drugs are cut with substances known as adulterants, which are chemicals added to increase the volume sold. These fillers can be anything from baking soda to strychnine.

Misinformation also exists on how to avoid side effects. Some therapies that do not work include: preloading with Prozac, Vitamin C, L-tryptophan or other chemicals. Viagra added to ecstasy (sextasy) will have added toxic effects. Alcohol will compound the effects of all these drugs. Other street drugs less common at raves include: alcohol, LSD, cocaine, marijuana, PCP and crystal meth.

Another non-drug related problem at raves is dilutional hyponatremia, which is when the salt lost from sweating and dancing non-stop causes the blood sodium level to dip dangerously low. This causes even more problems if a drug is on board and the person is also dehydrated, exhausted or hyperthermic. Drinking only water compounds the problem. . An easy way to prevent the problem is to ensure that some form of electrolyte drink is taken regularly throughout the party.

Some Stratigies for Raves
1)
Replenish fluids and salt 500ml/hr (dancing) or 250ml/hr (not dancing) You are already dehydrated by the time you first start to feel thirsty so drink water before you get thirsty.
2) Take breaks from dancing.
3) Remember the inaccuracies of drug labeling.
4) Know the signs and symptoms of toxicities. Even experienced Emergency doctors have trouble identifying drug overdoses when multiple drugs are used. So if you start to feel strange or are not sure stay with a friend and get some help.
5) Avoid alcohol. Raves are supposed to be alcohol free but many people drink before they get to the rave.
6) Have a buddy. This decreases the chances of having problems.

If someone is having a likely drug overdose help protect their airway. They should be on their side. Someone who knows first should direct this. Someone reliable should always stay with the person while help is called for until an ambulance arrives.
An overdose alert card is reprinted below.

For your reference a downloadable version of this text can be found at these links.
Front Page - Back Page

Dr. Podolsky has also written an Ectascy article.Here is the link if you are interested in reading it.

http://www.drugsense.org/dsw/2003/ds03.n288.html and

http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v03/n242/a01.html?189