WATERLOO (CUP) — Behindclosed doors, a movement is taking place. There are neon lights, glowsticks, fog machines, loud musicand hundreds of young adults. Thefloor is shaking to the continuous beat of the bass and the crowd ishypnotized by one man in chargeof the rhythm. Everyone is danc-ing.This is a typical DJ show, morecommonly known as a rave.Raves are not a new phenome-non. Raves have been a part of underground youth culture sincethe 1960s. Closely associated withclub drugs, most notably methyl-enedioxymethamphetamine or MDMA, raves are stompinggrounds for illegal activity.Historically, these raves have been held in warehouses, large barns and other venues far from thecity and out of the public eye.Recently, however, raves have begun to spring up in the middle of busy cities, with events promotedheavily though mainstream socialmedia sites.“It’s gotten big within the pastsix months to a year — it’s reallytaken off,” noted fourth-year Laurier student Chris Patterson.Essentially, continuing to callraves “underground” is inaccurate.“A lot of these DJs have beenaround for a while — Tiësto’s beenaround for years and I find thathe’s the biggest now,” Pattersonobserved.It’s through these mainstreamclubs such as Uptown Waterloo’sBeta that these DJs have gone fromunderground to household namesamong youth. “They come out witha big song or a remix and every- body kind of jumps on board,”Patterson said.The rapid rise to celebrity statusof these DJs has allowed them tocharge large sums of money to play for a night. According toPatterson, “Each one of these DJscosts like $15,000 to $20,000 for aset and they’re coming for two tothree hour sets. Two of those DJs anight is like $40,000 worth of music. They’re expensive.”Beyond the fast-paced excite-ment of these shows, there is atroubling trend: the accompanyinguse of party drug MDMA.MDMA, sometimes referred toas simply “M,” is the active ingre-dient of ecstasy in its purest form.It induces feelings of euphoria,diminishes anxiety and allows for increased intimacy with others.Across Canada, a large number of the students going to theseshows are on it.“It seemed like the mindset of most students was to put alcoholon the back burner and to test outthis new drug called MDMA,” saidBrett Knox, a dance music fan andfourth-year science student atDalhousie University.“It’s like a prerequisite neededto experience the full effects of themusic.”When asked of the effects, Knoxsaid, “It’s euphoric, increasesawareness of my senses — touch,taste, smell.” He added, “Youexperience feelings (you’re)unable to achieve without thedrug.”Personal testimonies like Knox’s present the drug to seem even moreenticing, which prompts many stu-dents to try the drug with littlethought or research.What is often not brought tolight is the dark side of MDMA.The drug is known to have anunpredictable effect. Public AffairsCoordinator for the WaterlooRegional Police Olaf Heinzaloffered perspective on the erraticside of an MDMA high.“Because of the nature of MDMA and how it’s produced,there are really no regulations thatcontrol the quality of the substanceand what may be in it,” Heinzalexplained. “There could be foreignsubstances in it with unpredictableimpact on a person’s physiology.”Recalling a very recent incident,Heinzal told The Cord, “Twofemales got very ill after attendinga nightclub in Waterloo allegedlyafter taking a substance they believe to be ecstasy. There wereserious side effects.”Despite the euphoric and unin-hibited feelings which result fromMDMA consumption, negativeeffects on the body — and even onan individual’s emotions — canoccur even days after consumption.Typically, “come down” from anMDMA high can result in a crash-ing of emotions, mood swings or even depression, and a notableincreased anxiety.Patterson recounted an experi-ence where he took too much. “Itwas overwhelming,” he said. “Iwas trying to calm myself down but I came up so quick and every-thing was just really, really intense.I was panicking. I was scaringmyself and not enjoying the show.”Heinzal stated that the WaterlooRegional Police has not been igno-rant to the increased use of the drugin the past year.“We are aware of significantquantities of the drug being either produced or distributed,” he toldThe Cord. “If (dance music has) become more fashionable in recentyears, then clearly there would bean increase in usage.”Carol Perkins, a Public Health Nurse for Waterloo Region, statedthat the public health department isalso well aware of the growing cul-ture. “We know students are usingecstasy,” she said. “We’re finding people passed out in bushes.”Some doctors have noted thatamid all its controversy, ecstasycan serve medicinal uses, particu-larly for patients suffering fromchronic pain, depression and other psychiatric disorders.It was prescribed as medicationuntil it was made illegal in 1977.Since then, due to the legal statusof the drug, users resort to obtain-ing the drug off the street.Health and law officials agreethat this is a huge risk, as Perkinsexplained.“People cut E with all kinds of stuff,” she said. “They’re cuttingheroin, they’re cutting meth … because it’s not a prescription,there’s no quality control.“The next time you take a fulltab, it could be quite a differentreaction than you had last time.”Some of Perkins’ other major concerns included mixing ecstasywith alcohol or other drugs. “Themixing of medications with illicitsubstances and alcohol can be real-ly, really harmful,” she said.According to Perkins, one of the biggest risks of consumingMDMA in a bar is the possibilityof dehydration.“A lot of places don’t allow youto take water bottles in and theycharge a fortune for them whenyou’re in there,” she said.Conversely, hyponatremia canoccur for those attempting to over-hydrate by consuming too muchwater under the influence.Hyponatremia occurs when sodi-um levels in blood are too low andcan result in death.There is no doubt that the recentdance music phenomenon hasfacilitated a drug movement in uni-versities and colleges all over Canada.The popularity of trance, techno,and dubstep are still currently onthe rise, and students, true to their nature, are using the opportunity toexperiment.
Exploring the increasing popularity behind party drug MDMA
Volume 44 Issue No. 5 September 26, 2011 www.fsu.ca/interrobang/
Between one-quarter and one-third of Fanshawe’s student popu-lation is made up of first genera-tion students – people whose par-ents did not attend post-secondaryschool. These students may be fac-ing some extra challenges that goalong with being a college student;they may have to deal with nega-tivity from their families or havedifficulty balancing school withwork and family life.Deborah Bomans, the StudentSuccess Advisor who works withfirst-generation students from allacademic schools at Fanshawe,acknowledged the extra stresssome first-generation students mayhave. “Oftentimes the student hashome commitments, such as work-ing or caring for siblings. (Oncethe student begins school,) thedance has changed and parentsmay not understand the commit-ment the student has to make. Itmay have additional stress on theentire family.”Fanshawe offers plenty of resources to help students of allkinds, from Counseling andAccessibility Services to Career Services to Financial Aid.According to Bomans, first gener-ation students receive “enhanced”versions of the supports allFanshawe students receive.One support these students may be interested in is the FirstGeneration Post SecondaryBursary worth up to $1,000, basedon financial need. It is available inSeptember and January, and stu-dents may apply to it once per aca-demic year. Students apply bywriting a 250-word essay abouttheir experience being a first gen-eration student. Applicants must be enrolled in a full-time programand must meet CanadianCitizenship criteria. This semester,applications are open fromSeptember 26 to October 14.Another bursary of note is theOntario First Generation StudentBursary for apprentices.Applications are open fromSeptember 16 to December 16. Itis open to first generation studentsregistered in a full-time appren-ticeship program (pre-apprenticeand part-time apprentice programsare not eligible). Again, applicantsmust be enrolled in a full-time pro-gram and must meet CanadianCitizenship criteria, and a 250-word essay is also required for this bursary.For more information abouteither bursary, visit fanshawe-money.ca.Students who have questions or concerns about being a first gener-ation student can contact Bomans by email at email@example.com, by phone at 519-452-4430 ext. 3953 or drop by her office in G3001. Students can alsocheck out the Fanshawe 1stGeneration Facebook page attinyurl.com/fanshawe1stgenfb.For more information about thesupports available to first genera-tion students, visit www.fan-shawec.ca/1stgen.
Bursary helps firstgeneration students
CREDIT: XXXOLOGY/FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS
Party drugs and DJ culture havemoved from the underground withmore active promotion throughsocial media and the Internet.