Letter: 'Ecstasy' and agony of acid house party

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The Independent Online
Sir: I am wondering why Marianne Macdonald bothered to write 'Fashionable young find East End ecstasy' (8 February). She fails to uncover any reason why young people go to such clubs, other than to take drugs. Many other misinformed people have documented this facet of club life; it is hardly original.

Speaking from experience - having spent three years DJ-ing in clubs - I would argue that the recent rise in dance-orientated venues is good for our youth. People go to listen to music, to socialise, to dance, to relax. Drugs are not even the norm; we are often respected more among our peers for moderating or rejecting the intake of drugs than for consuming any mind-altering substance in as great a quantity as we can afford. Alcohol drinking tends to be minimal, yet this is often overlooked as drug taking is scandalised.

Dance clubs offer a respected alternative (one of the few) to 'hanging out' on street corners or taking part in criminal activity. Indeed, the recent decline in criminal activity, yet increase in arrests for drug-related crimes, could very well be linked.

People who sell club drugs (ie, hashish, ecstasy and speed) do not 'push' them. Their 'victims' choose to be such. Many of these dealers would argue that they are offering a service to people and that they do not cause any harm to unwitting persons. It seems nonsensical that these victimless crimes should be one of the few types where a full custodial sentence must be served without the opportunity of parole.

Young people have not traditionally had a 'voice' to defend themselves. What they require are adults, with an understanding of their needs and habits, to represent them. The bias shown in this article represents a typical adult reaction to the way young people choose to express and enjoy themselves.

Yours sincerely,



8 February