STATEMENT ON RAVES AND CLUB DRUGS TO THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON CRIME, CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
By: Detective Eladio M. Paez
City of Miami Police DepartmentI’ve been a law enforcement officer for the past 19 years, 16 out of which I’ve worked in a specialized section of the Miami Police Department, among others with a great deal of experience. Many times, in an undercover capacity, I posed as a drug trafficker or smuggler infiltrating organizations and learning in the process, their behaviors and ways of thinking. I learned that there are numerous operatives in the drug trade that are as successful in remaining undetected, as I am in deceiving them. This made me a suspicious person, a true virtue when someone is blessed with teenagers. Several years ago, I began to wonder what was cool about a teenager sporting a baby pacifier around his neck, before long I was listening to their music, and watching "MTV." I realized that more and younger kids were using drugs than ever before. Events that were opened drug markets, were taking place right under our noses and no one was doing anything about it. I initiated proactive operations within my department that have served to educate others and to bring this problem light. The following is a summary of what I have learned while working undercover within the so-called Rave Subculture.
When your mind has become opened after truly acceptingpeace, only then can you know the true meaning and feeling of love. After that, unity can be achieved through mutual respect for everyone and everything around you.
This is what the rave subculture hides behind. Philosophies that good people and many religions identify with. But let’s drop the word rave, rave is only what crack became to free-base cocaine. Rave is only a name tagged on this movement, which was previously known as underground. A movement that has evolved from a trend to mainstream, seducing a great portion of society and promoting the adoption of MDMA, Ecstasy, 3-4 Mehylenedioxymethamphetamine, as the drug of choice.
The marketing scheme is flagrant and easily detected in their flyers, the most popular form of advertising clubs and events. These advertisements are found littering college grounds, high schools, and parking lots; many teenagers collect them and use them to decorate their rooms. The flyers are financed and provided by promoters to teenagers whom they recruit to distribute them. In exchange the young entrepreneur receives money, fringe benefits such as VIP passes and sometimes drugs to be sold at the events. These kids also call themselves promoters, and become very loyal to their Boss. These gatherings are externally lucrative and it’s not unlikely for a promoter to clear, one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000.00) in one night; water bottle sales alone can yield more than twenty thousand dollars ($20,000.00). The competition is vicious, and they stop at nothing in order to ensure a successful event. These flyers are expensive to produce, they are multicolored with elaborate graphics, and many display symbols, letters, and terms synonymous with drugs or drug use, presented in the open or in a subliminal fashion. These events are named, even when they take place at a club that already has one. They choose names such as GENE RATION, LIFE, EVOLUTION, ENERGY, and coincidentally the E’s are enhanced one way or the other, they also use many forms of X’ and or XO’s, representing HUGS & KISSES a street name for their drug of choice, "the love drug."
I refer to this drug of choice as the enforcer, because it eventually forces the user to seek refuge in other drugs. The effects of MDMA may last 4 to 6 hours; there comes a point in time when the user needs and want’s to rest. They use downers to achieve that rest, Marijuana, GHB, pharmaceuticals like Xanax, Valium and eventually, Heroin. This urge by users to come down is evident when most of the clubs or events provide and advertise a cool down room or a mist tent. There are other drugs that are also part of the scene and are used in combination with MDMA. Cocaine, Ketamine LSD, or anything else that the user thinks will enhance or prolong the ecstasy high. Mixing drugs is part of the scene, and to this we can attribute overdoses, rapes, and deaths. Date rape is a common term among our youth, and many incidents are never reported. Most likely it is that same quest for a euphoric feeling with no inhibitions, culpable of numerous rape incidents. Persons under the influence of ecstasy, who engages in the usual activity of touching, massaging, and caressing each other, may find themselves at risk. At a later time during the event they may take downers in order to neutralize the high and loose consciousness, no longer being able to make a decision whether they want to have sex or not.
The lawlessness of events and open drug den atmosphere are true impediments to the efforts of diverting youth away from drug use. Contrary to inaccurate statements that our Nation’s prisons are full of first time offenders and non-violent drug addicts, quite frankly, there is very little deterrence to drug use. Demand reduction must be backed by enforcement, obviously smashing an egg on a frying pan and stating "this is your brain on drugs" has not worked. On one hand our kids are told to "Just say NO," on the other, a small but influential segment of the media and entertainment industries bombards them with messages promoting and glorifying drug use along with it’s illicit business.
One of the greatest obstacles we face is misinformation. A resent article in the June 5th, 2000 edition of the TIME magazine cited a 1953 U.S. Army founded secret University of Michigan animal study of 8 drugs, including MDMA. According to the article, the study found that none of the compounds under review were particularly toxic– adding, "It would take a big dose of e, something like 14 of today’s purest pills ingested at once, to kill you." There are countless episodes of deaths caused by much less amounts of MDMA. In June of 1998 an 18-year-old young man died after taking a total of 5 pills during the course of the night at a Pre-Zen festival in down town Miami. According to an article titled "Feds crack down on ecstasy" in the USA Today newspaper on April 19th, 2000 James Pasco, executive director of the fraternal order of police stated, "what would a cop rather be doing, chasing a guy who just put a gun in a clerk’s ear at the store or arresting a kid who is using a drug that doesn’t promote violence?" Trinka Porrata, a retired Los Angeles narcotics detective stated, "If you bust a party, then you’re sending 800 kids on drugs on the road." "At a real rave they go there, they do their drugs, they pass out, they sleep it off and then they go home." Although someone under the effects of MDMA would probably not fight anyone, the violence that surrounds this scene is immense. In the past year a 21-year-old promoter was found guilty of placing a pipe bomb at a South Beach club in order to lure more attendees to his event nearby. Trinka Porrata must not have heard of Samantha Reed, if is true that she made such a statement, sixteen year old Samantha never woke up after her friends spiked her soft drink at a party, since her death GHB became a schedule 1 drug like MDMA and Heroin. In South Florida an 18-year-old girl was dead for eight hours at a party before her friends realized she had passed away as a result of an overdose.
Promoters and club owners thrive on misinformation. They go as far as hiring law enforcement officers to stand guard outside these events, creating a false sense of security for many unsuspecting parents that drive and drop-off their teenagers at the"non-alcoholic dance event." We are faced with a devastating problem of epidemic proportion. I have seen kids as young as 12 year olds at some events, these are havens for sexual predators that enjoy the chemically induced lack of inhibitions and lovey-dovey atmosphere
We can no longer tag this problem with a low priority, ignore it, or hope that it will fadeout like pokemon cards. We cannot allow these events to take place without deterring drug use and much less we cannot allow misinformed law enforcement to stand guard outside open drug dens.