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Newsgroups: alt.drugs,talk.politics.drugs
From: dfuhri@efn.org (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!"