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Notes from the May, 2000 Conference of the
California Association of Toxicologists

Page 6

11 am -- "Trendy Drugs of Abuse"
Trinka Porrata -- Retired LAPD Detective and self proclaimed expert on GHB


Ms. Porrata mentioned that she had just come from doing the Montel Williams show and I believe she has also done several other sensationalistic entertainment television spots (sorry Montel). Since I am planning on sending this out to some folks who may not recognize how absurd some of her facts were, I will include comments on accuracy in brackets [ earth: ... ]. I am hesitant to include some of the critical comments about her, but was encouraged to include them in order to help people get a sense of who she is and what I made of Ms. Porrata in person.

She had a large packet of information in the hand-out folder, including papers she has written on MDMA, GHB, ketamine, etc. Unfortunately facts in her papers are fully mixed in with bizarre rumors and misinformation. Her packet included information about what sort of search warrant attachments to include (list everything on the warrant so you can take the kitchen sink if you feel like it), Frightening stuff.

On a side note, I noticed she used the term 'trendy drugs' in the title of her talk and several times during her presentation. It should be noted that she recently acquired the URL "trendydrugs.com" and there could be a strange conflict of interest in her wanting to create a sort of branding around her new term.

As one example of how unreliable her packet is, she includes a mention of the car-accident death from last august which was the subject of the last talk of the day (Joseph Muto) and Porrata has the facts in error. As Muto tells it (he was the chief of the forensic investigation for this accident) none of those involved had taken MDMA, yet Ms. Porrata's paper states "The recent, highly publicized deaths of five teens returning from a rave in the mountains whose vehicle plunged off a 1,000 foot cliff 'as though the road just continued' was indeed associated with MDMA; all five came back positive for MDMA or MDA and ephedrine." This statement is false.

As far as her talk goes, I think she came across as bitterly anti-party with an attitide of superiority and a narrow mission that blinds her to the fact that the things she's presenting are so unprofessionally false that you can only take her seriously if you know nothing about the subject. Her tone was condescending and superior, even though she was talking to a room full of well educated scientists.

She said that rave music is all about mind control. "techno music is set to mind control beats, to create a trance in those who listen to it... the DJs don't care about these kids, its about mind control... DJs brag about how many thousands of people they control at parties."[earth: utter nonsense.] She spoke about these people with disdain, a sneering condescension that suggests she really hates DJ, ravers, and rave promoters.

She said the most prevalent drug at raves is ecstasy. She said that she tried to estimate the number of kids at raves who had also done nitrous oxide and so she "asked the kids" at the parties and she came up with the estimate that "40-70% of the people at raves also use nitrous in an evening". [ earth: these nitrous numbers are *way* too high ]

"GHB is a huge drug of abuse, the treatment centers don't recognize this issue, no one recognizes it."

She named Dr Ward Dean and Steven Fowkes and called them "stone cold psychos" several times. She definitely had some venom for them. (Fowkes & Dean are authors of the somewhat thin book titled "GHB the natural mood enhancer")

She said she thought that police who work as security for raves are "insane" and seemed to suggest they were bad cops because they worked these parties and they "look the other way" at all the drug use. "Police turn their back on it, absolutely ignoring [drug use]."

She said that many raves have massage areas and that "the massage parlors inside raves are there to deal with MDMA muscle spasms--this is not people wanting to relax, this is about MDMA muscle spasms". [ earth: total nonsense ]

She talked about rave promoters shutting off the water at parties to be able to sell more water. She described police pretending to be a porta-potty company, bidding for the concession to do porta potties at raves, and then shutting them down by putting up signs along the road to the parties saying "rave closed by LA County Sheriffs Department".

She said that some licensed clubs would drag out unconscious customers and "throw the unconscious bimbos off their property, get them as far away as possible, and pretend the didn't know about it." She described a story about a particular unscrupulous club that tried to avoid getting insurance marks against them for having too many ambulance calls to their site by removing people from the property if they were unconscious.

She claimed that people who wear "bright yellow or orange colors" clothing or jewelry "are 'candy flippers' meaning they are using both LSD & MDMA together". [earth: total nonsense, clothing colors are not indicative of what drugs people are taking.]

She said that baggy clothing signifies "trance ravers" and "that they can be found in the 'trance room'." She spent quite a lot of time talking about big, baggy, fuzzy pants as signs of drug use. She said that all big fuzzy pants have secret drug pockets built into them on the inside upper thigh. [earth: types of clothing do not indicate what types of music people like. Certainly some clothing have secret pockets installed, but the level of prevalence she described was outlandish.] While I myself am bewildered by the pant sizes of some people I meet, I doubt their primary purpose is to be able to hide drugs.

She said that many people dress as babies and they do so in order to cover the side effects of the drugs, the pacifiers are explained. I think she is right that the pacifier phenomenon is related to ecstasy (and other stimulant) use and the bruxia and trismus it causes, but I would also say that I've met people with pacifiers around their necks who are completely sober and plan to be sober. Go figure :].

She said that "the butterfly is the universal symbol for ecstasy" and that parents should beware if their children start wearing butterflies, because it means the children are into drugs. She said that the kids wear wings on their backs and "those aren't angel wings, parents, those are butterfly wings, and that means ecstasy." Little butterfly hairclips, pins, etc are all symbols of drug culture and drug use. [earth: The butterfly is not the 'universal symbol for ecstasy', although it does happen to be the marketing logo used by a commercial company for their non-MDMA herbal ephedrine product. Lots of people like butterflies and butterfly hairclips and pins are sold by the bucketfull at WalMart. Also, I've seen both butterfly wings and angel wings on costumes at parties, she seemed to be saying that any winged costumes are indicative of MDMA use. What an odd thing to say.]

She then moved on to talking about GHB and said that by far "biggest single group using GHB are body builders." She said that GHB is slipped into people's drinks and that goldschlager is popular to use for hiding the taste of GHB.

She claimed that "an unbelievable number of the dead kids [who died of GHB?] have large hearts" . I assume that this was intended to suggest that GHB was acting as a strong steroid. [earth: I think that without carefully analyzing the data it could also be true that those who used GHB for bodybuilding were previous steroid users, hard to say without more data.]

She said that people on GHB can become "very aggressive" and exhibit "PCP type behavior". She told the story of people "on GHB" climbing buildings, being beligerent, etc. She talked about people who told her that when they took GHB their heads would snap forward and back and she told of one person who supposedly broke several mirrors in their bathroom because their head would hit it while they were standing in front of it as they were nodding off. [earth: this forehead mirror smashing seems highly improbable to have happened to more than 1 or 2 people.]

She said that many crime labs now test for GHB, but that most don't test for 14b. She said that a number of GHB relatives were starting to show up, such as "GHV or Sodium 4 hydroxyvalerate also called 4-methyl-GHB, or valeric acid" and said there were many more "but for obvious reasons, I'm not going to list them."

Porrata presented the information without the slightest hint of understanding or compassion for the rave attendees she talked about. She quoted baseless rumors like "90% of kids at raves are on drugs". [earth: I think that any estimates of % of people on schedule I or II drugs at parties are necessarily problematic. My own experience at raves and talking to rave attendees would suggest much lower numbers, but I hate to get into a guessing contest. 90% seems far too high and is based merely on her own extremely negative view, not any type of reliable survey or data collection.]

She spoke like a person so totally out of touch with the generation and culture of her subject and so prone to read all generational and fashion differences as indicative of some type of dirty drug addiction / abuse that she came across to me like an embittered caricature. She seemed to take pleasure in being snide, her dismissive and self-satisfied demeanor belying a total lack of respect for anyone who has ever attended a party to have fun.

She said that rave 'music' isn't music at all, as if it were some verified fact instead of the most common of generation-gap fallacies. Her 'mind control' shtick was frightening and seemed mostly aimed to incite the basest fears in parents. It fits in with her appearances on whatever entertainment magazine television shows, but in this context it seemed like a cartoon of what youth might envision as totally out of touch authorities and parents.

She was willing to present, again as fact, that all of the accoutrements of rave fashion, silly childish toys, lights, jewelry, clothing, hair pins, hair styles, etc are necessarily indicative of drug use and should be considered "drug paraphernalia". It seems like she is the voice of all the misunderstanding there is between parents and children, distilling all the fears and mistrust down into something that should become enforced by police and public policy. She drew upon fear of parents about parties by talking about a girl putting her hair in pigtails and dressing in silly clothing and how the parents should see this as a warning sign of drug use.

Does she really have no comprehension or memory of her own youth or any insight into the reasons why teens would want to attend parties populated by peers in costumes, funny clothing, dancing, playing with toys, getting dressed up, kissing and touching others, or joining into the 'new cool thing'?

The Drug Warriors appear to be taking up all the rest of the real-estate left for teens: there is nowhere left to stand besides the area marked "drug user". Not only are being morose, depressed, spending time alone, not paying attention to fashion, dressing 'slutty', and not washing regularly all signs of drug use, but now so are being happy, being outgoing, spending time at parties, dressing 'too young', playing with toys, liking brightly colored clothing, or wearing butterflies and rainbows. Good lord.

I understand she is upset about the GHB-OD deaths and rave related injuries and deaths, but her data and concerns are so fully mixed in with false statements that you have to set aside virtually anything she says. The gentleman sitting next to me who had stated quite clearly that he was "against drugs" also said of Ms. Porrata "She's on a crusade, you can't trust her." I thought that was extremely appropriate.


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