Saturday, October 23, 2004

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About E

This story from Australia is amazing! Read it and you'll understand exactly why some good kids make bad decisions ... and why some don't. I've added comments in bold red type.

Copyright 2004
The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, Australia)

October 18, 2004
Youngsters keep dicing with death - Danielle's fatal overdose fails to deter nightclubbers

YOUNG people partying at the venue where Danielle Chalon collapsed after taking a lethal ecstasy tablet remain remarkably unconcerned about the dangers of the drug.

Like 19-year-old Danielle, the 20 young people interviewed by The Daily Telegraph were at Kings Cross early yesterday morning for a fun time with friends.

Most had experimented with drugs, but none said they were regular users. It would appear from their responses, the tragic death of a teenage peer and the possibility they could be a victim of ecstasy are yet to hit home. None of those interviewed thought they could suffer the same fate as Danielle, who took half an ecstasy pill two weeks ago and later died in hospital of a brain haemorrhage. My film challenges kids on this idea in the chapter, "It can't happen to me."

One, 18-year-old Ali, who was with friends in Darlinghurst Rd, said she had never tried ecstasy but disregarded the dangers. "People die all the time," she said. "Part of the attraction is that it's dangerous."

Alex, 21, was waiting for a friend in Oxford St and made extraordinary claims about ecstasy use. "There is knowledge on how to use alcohol and with ecstasy, you just need the right amount of water and the right mixture," Alex said. Alex somehow thinks Ecstasy is like pharmaceuticals, made in highly controlled and monitored environments. It's not. Two pills can look exactly the same, but be completely different. Two pills that are exactly the same can effect two people completely differently.

Daniel, 25, went to great lengths to explain why he thought he could not die from taking ecstasy. "She must have had something wrong with her body before, if you are healthy it's not going to harm you that much," he said. All three of the Ecstasy victims in my film were healthy at the time of their tragedies. If there was something wrong with them, they sure didn't know it!

Angeline, 22, cheerfully said she believed she could trust the person who sold her drugs. "It's [Danielle's death] not affecting what we are doing. If you know the person and the source, it's OK," she said. Oh, so you'd trust a drug dealer? Someone who sells high-risk, potentially fatal, illegal products for profit?

For Jo, 21, Danielle's death has not affected her recreational use of "pills". "You feel so distant from it," she said. "Most people think they know their dealers so they trust them and take whatever they give them. You think it is never going to happen to you ... I know that that is the stupidest thing to think." Yes it is.

Others believed being with friends offered them safety. "I've tried it and it was awesome, I did it two years ago but it is not really my scene. When other people are taking it, you feel safe," Merryn, 22, said, as she stood with some friends outside an Oxford St nightclub. Not true. People on Ecstasy don't have good judgment; many have died when friends ignored their convulsions, put them outside in snow so they'd cool down, etc.

A handful of people, including Heidi, 20, said that they would never considering using drugs when they go out for a good time. "I have never found a need for drugs," she said. "I can have fun without it." Yay, Heidi!

But others had no such qualms about the risks of taking drugs. Jo added tellingly that most young people she knew seemed to believe that they were invincible. "I don't think it [Danielle's death] will have much effect," she said. "You feel so distant from [tragedies like] it."

Pills, thrills and the chemical generation

Alex, 21, student: "With ecstasy you just need to have the right amount of water and the right mixture. Obviously, she didn't do that." Not true. Reactions vary greatly ... and you can die from too much water!

Angeline, 22: "If you know the person [dealer] and the source, it's OK." Oh, so you toured the factory and certified all the ingredients?

Freya, 21"I have never taken it, but the proportion of deaths are so much lower than alcohol so I don't think it [her death] will be a deterrent." Fewer people die from Russion Roulette, too ... so does that mean we should play that for kicks, too?

Natalie, 20, student: "You never know with dealers what's in it. You have to be more wary."

Ed, 19: "I've done it once, I'd never do it again."

Heidi, 20, student"I have never found a need for drugs. But most of my friends, once they've tried it, haven't been able to get off it." Yes, you don't hear much about it, but Ecstasy addiction is real.

Male, 35, bouncer: "One of my friends has just come out of a psychiatric ward, that's what effect it had on her." By stripping serotonin from the brain, Ecstasy can cause depression and suicide. Nowdays it's being cited more and more often by defense attorneys, who attribute their clients' bizarre, even murderous behavior to Ecstasy use.

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