Life In Clubland: If You Must Do Drugs, Know What You’re Getting Into

When you work in nightlife, the party scene, raves, etc., you are going to encounter certain mind-altering substances. Having been DJing and throwing parties for 20 years, I can say the dope scene is certainly one of the most complicated aspects of the whole game.

The topic of drug use in general is much too broad to try to tackle in a short article, but the reality of the situation is that a lot of people are going to give drugs a shot anyway,  so a few pointers other than “this is your brain on drugs” could help you make it out alive.

Drug Dealers

Drug dealers, for the most part, get a bad rap. I personally haven’t met too many scary “Scarface” drug dealers. Call it luck, don’t call it hard empirical evidence, but most of them have been some of the nicest people I knew. They were smooth. Patient. Punctual. Usually hung around with girls. Generally enjoyed telling and/or hearing entertaining stories. They were deceptively cool people, who made their living squeezing ridiculous profit margins off of tiny amounts of inventory by living in the shadows and avoiding Johnny Law.

The problem is, they were all criminals. They were all Han Solo, likable criminals, but criminals nonetheless. The debate may rage about drugs, and we can get into the physical hazards you’re risking later, but this has nothing to do with drug dealers. What they’re doing is illegal, regardless if you agree with the laws making it illegal or not.

Then there are guns. Oh yes, this is America, land of the 2nd Amendment, and there are guns in the drug business. When one is in an illegal business, one cannot call the police for assistance in times of duress, one must “handle it.” I personally, am highly allergic to firearms. They lead to blood, cops and prison cells.

When you are in the company of a criminal, you are sharing the risk. If they’re in your car, it’s your shit too whether that’s guns or drugs. Federal minimum sentencing guideline for possession of cocaine with intent to distribute? Five years. Tack on a bunch more in most states for commission of felony in possession of a handgun. So there’s that.

Quality Control

The next issue is the product itself. We are not talking about an FDA-approved market here. You are buying a completely unregulated substance from a person who has no idea how to manufacture it, who bought it from somebody they know, who got it from…somewhere. There is a chance it was in someone’s butt when it came across the border. Think about that.

There was a batch of cocaine floating around at one point that, somewhere along the supply chain, got cut with baby laxative. It looked right, the texture was good, it was non-toxic, cheap, no harm no foul! No foul except everybody who did it, immediately made a beeline for the bathroom.

That’s a non-lethal, funny version of the drugs-having-some-weirdness-in-them. You know what’s not funny? Taking meth when you didn’t mean to. There are testing kits available from people like DanceSafe. I do not encourage you to take drugs. I do, however, encourage that if you cannot be talked out of taking them, should someone decide to try that approach, that you at least double check to make sure you aren’t fighting for your right to eat rat poison mixed with crushed-up Rolaids.

Party On (Safely If Possible)!

So, now that you have successfully consumed a non-lethal dose of appropriately manufactured narcotics, nobody has talked you out of it, you didn’t get shot or arrested, and it’s time to get down. What it do, player?

Well, for one thing, it do things you don’t normally do. Which is partially why you took it in the first place. Which seems like a blast, until you find yourself in an unusually compromising position.

Pro tip: Going out of your head with people you don’t entirely trust with your body, your girlfriend, your car, your money, your house keys, your laptop, and your life is inadvisable.

If you get stuck on stupid, you would prefer to be with people that will have your back, not hook up with your girl (who is most likely in as weird a place as you), and will call for help if shit goes south. Hanging out with people you don’t know well or trust is how you get ditched to fend for yourself, because folks aren’t trying to take a risk on your behalf. Bad news, friend.

Second, the whole world knows that if you pop molly, you drink water, but what else?  Well, the song “Blue Monday” by New Order, written in the heyday of early rave culture at the Hacienda nightclub in Manchester, England, refers to the psychological letdown one endures a day or two after consuming ecstasy (molly).

You see, when you go way overboard on a serotonin re-uptake inhibitor, you are flooding your brain with serotonin (“YAY! I won the race!”) and then you are blocking the receptors that re-absorb it (“WOW! I’m still winning the race!”).  While this creates a much-debated effect of pleasure, empathy, self-awareness and the like, it also has some unintended psychological repercussions that most people don’t really warn you about.

This “Blue Monday” is not really a phenomenon that should be engaged in on a day when you have shit to do. You have hijacked the chemical process of your brain, and it needs a day or two to figure out what the fuck happened. It needs carbohydrates to make more serotonin. It needs sleep. It needs you to NOT DRIVE A CAR. If you have some pre-existing chemical imbalances, are in a real stressful period of your life, or are prone to mood swings, this could be an extremely fragile time for you, and should be approached with extreme caution. They say it’s always darkest just before the light, but in the case of a molly hangover, it was lightest just before the dark.

When you’re making party plans, you ALWAYS have the option of saying: “not tonight.” If the party will be lame if you’re sober and you’re there for the drugs, you may want to reconsider some things. If people want to give you a hard time and guilt trip you about it, fuck them, they’re not real friends. Honestly, though, I feel that way about people who would judge you for doing it, too.

Choose your friends wisely. Also, you can’t overdose on weed = FACT. [I’ve been trying my hardest for years to disprove that. No luck yet. – ed.]

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