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Modern humans must learn how to relate to psychoactives
responsibly, treating them with respect and awareness,
working to minimize harms and maximize benefits, and
integrating use into a healthy, enjoyable, and productive life.
Notes from the May, 2000 Conference of the
California Association of Toxicologists

Page 10

4:30 pm -- "An Analytical Approach to Rave Parties and a case example involving five fatalities"
Joseph Muto, Chief of Forensic Labs, LA Department of the Coroner


This talk ended up being very different from what I expected. It was the story of the forensic director's work on the case last august of 5 teens who went to a weekend rave north of LA and on their way home on Sunday morning, they drove off a cliff and the car ended up 1200 feet below the road it had been driving on. All 5 were dead and the car was completely crushed.

The news media announced that it was ecstasy related before they had even started the tests. The CHP determined that the car had been going 35-40 over the cliff and there were no signs of braking.

The blood tests showed that all 5 were negative for alcohols, ghb, prescription meds, cocaine, pcp, opiates, barbs and were screen positive for amphetamines. The confirmation tests showed: 2 of them were positive for very low levels of meth, low enough that it seemed likely they had taken either low doses or had taken it two nights before. Three of the teens, including the driver, had MDA present in their blood and urine indicating that they had taken MDA the night of the party.

They did all the tests twice and had their results scrutinized by the press and DEA. The high profile cases are not fun.

I was impressed that John Muto seemed still moved by telling the story and looking at the pictures of the crosses which are now at the place the car went off the road.


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