Newsgroups: alt.drugs,talk.politics.drugs From: email@example.com (Darrell Fuhriman) Subject: Article in Newsweek last Date: Fri, 3 Dec 1993 07:53:18 GMT Wow! The media finally did an objective treatment of drug use. I guess change really is coming.... The article is very objective and deals with the facts. (What a novel idea!) Anyway, here it is. Errors are mine etc etc. Reproduced without a bit of permission. THE NEW VIEW FROM ON HIGH TRENDS: A wave of new drugs flood the clubs Most Americans reacted to the death of River Phoenix in October with at least a sigh of sympathy. Among a certain set, though, it sparked a grim curiosity. Early press reports of the actor's death by overdose mentioned GHB, an obscure and dangerous steroid substitute occasionally gulped down by West Coast thrill seekers. Never mind that according to a Los Angles coroner's report GHB was not found in the actor's body. And never mind, too , that it's scarcely available outside a few Los Angeles nightspots. The hunt was on. "I'd never heard of GHB before. No one in New York had," Said a Manahattan drug user last week. "This month it's the only drug." Even drug abuse is subject to the whims of fashion. It's not that the old standards have quit the scene. Phoenix's death was apparently caused by a mixture of morphine, cocaine and other drugs. But members of his generation, mainly middle class and well educated, have turned to other more exotic highs to fuel their nights. Whether it's Ectstasy at raves or DMT to launch the mind travel of self-styled "psychonauts," there's an alphabet soup of designer drugs to choose from. "It's a different culture of use," says Carlo McCormick, and editor of the New York trendsheet Paper a student of drug culture. "These drugs are serving the same function that has existed for 20 years. They're just specific to a new generation." And they're in plentiful supply. Alexander Shulgin, a pharmacologist at the University of California, Berkely, has researched 179 potential intoxicants in one psychdelic family alone, the phenethylamines. Forced to lay a game of catch-up, last week the Drug Enforcement Administration hastily added one of them, 2C-B, to its schedule of controlled substances. But an informal survey last week by Miami club personality Julian Bain found the 2C-B, sold under the street name Nexus, has already become the number-three drug of choice in South Beach. Of all the drugs in the designer pharmacoepia, the most popular nationwide is MDMA, or Ectasy. It's been 10 years since "X" hit the bars, including some in Dallas where it could be bought with a credit card. Considered by many the ultimate "dance drugs," X is often described as less disturbingly "trippy" that LSD and more serene than cocaine, which are considered cruder drugs. The white pills of MDMA give feelings of empathy and togetherness coupled with an up-all-night amphetamine rush. Despite nine MDMA laboratory busts in 1992, the Department of Health and Human Services reported 236 emergency room visits involving the drug that year. Designer-drug use tends to follow regional and demographic trends. With all the high-tech choices, getting high can now mean getting fairly specific. The New York City nightclub Bump! isn't named after the goofy disco dance, says staffer Marc Berkley It's a tounge-in-cheek reference to a dose of ketamine (street name: Special K), a surgical anesthetic snorted by much of the club's mainly gay clientele in an attempt to magnify dance floor sensations like lights, music and rhythm. The club has a 100-foot twisting slide lined with flashing lights. It's called the "K-Hole," the slang term for the episodes of numbed confusion that ketamine can induce. HEAD RUSH: San Fransisco's small but devoted DMT scene is a far more serious set. The orange powder causes a violent head rush that devotee Terence McKenna, author of "True Hallucinations," says can be used as an "epistemological tool" to understand the world. McKenna's trancelike public readings attract hundreds of fans. But if anyone's actually smoked the stuff, he's far from the crowd -- anathema to the herd mentality bred by MDMA and ketamine. DMT has a nasty side effect: total physical collapse. "You're supposed to have someone there to take the pipe out of your hand," says Lon Clark, 27, a rave lighting designer who's seen it smoked. In the clubs, advocates of the designer drugs claim psychological benefits including everything from enhanced self-image to emotional insight. Scientists, however, know little about the drug's effects. Dr. George Ricaurte or Johns Hopkins recently found signs of damage to the nerves that release the neuro-transmitter serotonin in former MDMA users. But Rick Doblin, president of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, A North Carolina group that promotes MDMA testing worldwide, disputes whether such effects are lasting or significant. Dr. Charles Grob of UC, Irvine, plans to test MDMA for possible medical applications like pain management for the terminally ill. Step one, set to begin at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, Calif., this month, will seek to determine the drugs toxic effects on the body. That's information from which young club-goers could profit. BOX: "Club Pharmacopeia" Special K (Katamine) Cost: $40-50 per half gram Effect: Apparent weightlessness, disorientation Who uses: Mainly New York Gays Ecstasy (MDMA) Cost $20-30 per pill Effect: Introspection, euphoria Who Uses: Ravers nationwide; British ravers and Soccer fans GHB Cost: $20 per ounce Effect: Alcohol like drowsiness Who Uses: Body Builders, West Coast club goers DMT Cost: $200 per gram Effect: Extreme perceptual alteration; "out-of-body" hallucination Who Uses: Serious "psychonauts" Nexus (2C-B) Cost: $25-35 per capsule Effect: Giddiness, visual effects Who Uses: Denziens of dance clubs in California and Florida D Meth (methamphetamine) Cost: $60-120 a gram Effect: Long lasting manic energy Who Uses: Formerly bikers/blue collar, now West Coast ravers -- Darrell Fuhriman "Hi mom!"