There’s no denying it or trying to cover it up – the EDM scene has been synonymous with taking MDMA, more commonly known as Molly or Ecstasy, practically since its inception. But today’s cancellation of the biggest end-of-summer electronic music festival has some people questioning their previously blazé attitude towards this potentially lethal pairing. And they should be.
Wikipedia has a thorough overview with all the facts and figures you would ever need about MDMA. For the rest of us, we know what it does and why people use it so widely at festivals and concerts worldwide. The feeling of euphoria from “rolling face” by way of the little pill is said to enhance the already electrifying experience of going to a concert or festival. The relatively mild side effects and moderate harm to the human body are usually dismissed by those youths claiming to be “young and dumb.”
But something clearly went terribly, terribly wrong in the last two days. While the official cause of the two deaths are yet to be released, most are speculating an overdose and combination with alcohol. Some of us, however, are more concerned that an impure variant of the drug was being circulated. Should a more harmful drug or a concoction of lethal chemicals be added to a tablet of MDMA (called lacing), it can lead to the types of incidents that we all just witnessed.
So how do we prevent such a tragedy? There are multiple answers to this question, with the most common and obvious one being to simply take a firmer stance against drug use at these types of events. I found it very odd that on Madeevent’s somewhat humorous FAQ page, there is not even ONE mention of illegal drugs anywhere. Not even under the code of conduct or prohibited items. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that Madeevent and other festival companies are well aware of drug use but simply choose to not explicitly prohibit them.
Another answer is to encourage responsible drug use including forcing MDMA suppliers (yes, a euphemism for drug dealers) to not lace the pills with harmful chemicals and other, more dangerous drugs. This is nearly impossible to accomplish due to obvious issues related to the legality of the drug. We’ll keep the Legalization Debate out of this one. Anyway, some people who do have experience taking the drug say to never acquire it from an untrustworthy individual or a stranger who might lace it. After acquiring it safely, it should be ingested in small, measured doses (usually in tenths of grams). As with any drug (including alcohol), staying hydrated is critical.
Even DJs and Producers are divided on the issue. In the following video, Steve Aoki & Kaskade, among others, neither explicitly condone nor censure the use of the drug. But even a half impassioned viewer will be able to tell that the video’s message is not one of prohibition, but of responsible drug ingestion instead.
Others like Joel Zimmerman, a.k.a. Deadmau5, have come out strongly against “rolling face.” Remember him lambasting pop star Madonna for her Ultra 2012 “Has anyone seen Molly” comment?
It seems that there aren’t too many other DJs like Zimmerman who are as strongly opinionated against the drug as he is, but given these recent events, maybe we need more Deadmau5es in the industry. Already, we’re seeing some high profile DJs discouraging “rolling face.”
In the end, there’s no solution that is going to please everyone. From now on, we’re pretty sure that festival companies will be more strict, implementing pat-downs and staying vigilant regarding offending attendees. Many are already tweeting that we need to put an end to this “Molly culture” and simply enjoy the music. Others are already jumping on the #rollresponsibly train. For now, let’s just take some time to grieve with the families of the two kids who lost their lives thanks to a damning act of irresponsibility.