The recent deaths attributed to MDMA use at this past weekend’s Electric Zoo Festival have the media world buzzing about drugs and the electronic dance music community.
Some may remember that a very similar thing happened following the death of a young girl at the 2010 Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) in Los Angeles.
At that time, something unprecedented happened. The Los Angeles Department of Public Health convened a “Rave Task Force.” With such an ominous name, you might expect a drug law crackdown, but in fact the task force included not just law enforcement but also the event promoter Insomniac, medical professionals and local electronic music artists, other promoters and key community members. Never before had such a diverse group been brought together to create change at these events on such a broad scale. Here was the result:
A high quality public service announcement (PSA) that involved some of the top DJs from Southern California and across the U.S. Its message was simple: Be aware of ecstasy’s effects and educate yourself so that “we can all play another day.”
The Task Force also produced MDMA fact cards. Unfortunately, as soon as the media caught wind of the fact cards being distributed at events, they slammed the LA Department of Public Health for “teaching young kids how to use drugs
The campaign died and the PSA went nowhere.
Three years later it’s clear the need for these messages – and others – is as strong as ever.
Stefanie Jones is event manager for the Drug Policy Alliance.