Teen raves are loud, night-long dance parties that often draw crowds anywhere from 25 to 25,000 people. Most in attendance are between the ages of 13-25. In addition, getting in the door may cost anywhere from $10 to $30 per person.
History of the Rave
Teen raves first came to this country from Europe in the early 1990's. They are underground dance parties often held in warehouses, fields, lofts, barns, and even abandoned buildings, usually without legal permits or permission from the local authorities.
As such, partygoers most often learn of them through word of mouth or through advertisements on the Internet; their precise locations are undisclosed until the day they are held. Attendees then call a secret phone number for an address or directions.
Today, however, more and more teen raves are becoming mainstream affairs thrown like any other entertainment event with the necessary permission of the local authorities.
Why Teens Attend Teen Raves
Contrary to popular belief, avid ravers claim that drugs are no more prevalent at raves than in any other part of society. They say kids are safer at raves than at other dances and teen hangouts because alcohol is traditionally not allowed at raves. There are several reasons why teenagers attend these all night dance parties:
- Kids cannot carry in purses or bags, and they are searched for drugs coming in through the door. Many say it's all about the music, and promoters echo this sentiment claiming raves are just large dance parties and a place to connect with other like-minded individuals. The drug use, they say, is akin to a self-fulfilling prophecy: if you expect to use while in attendance, then use you will.
- Teenagers feel the rave environment offers them a sense of community apart from the adult world and a release from the stress of very busy lives. Many kids today run straight from school to soccer practice and other extracurricular activities without so much as a pause between. This leaves many teens feeling overwhelmed, overextended, and just plain stressed out. Many teens feel that the music and people-friendly vibe of raves helps to relieve that tension.
- Many ravers claim their guiding principle in attending teen raves is not about drugs, but rather PLUR, that is, peace, love, unity, and respect.
Today's teens are prompted to attend because of the ever-changing image of raves. Not all rave parties are held in secretive hideaways. Instead, they are advertised on the Internet, and radio, and are being held with the consent of local authorities. In fact, local police and parents sometimes attend the parties themselves.
Possible Dangers of Attending a Rave
Although you may be embracing the principle of PLUR, others may not. If you choose to attend a rave, you should be well informed of the potential pitfalls. Here are some reasons you may want to practice caution before attending:
- The very drugs you use to have a good time may actually make you a victim. Be smart, keep yourself safe, and don't use them.
- You are at a greater risk for date rape. At a rave, there may be more opportunities for someone to slip something into your drink.
- If there is a fight, people are less likely to call the police. Since the party may be in violation of the fire safety laws, the promoters may go to jail. If a fight breaks out, it will be up to you to keep yourself safe.
Although raves and drugs don't necessarily go hand in hand, to ignore the rave and drug connection would be foolish. The chart below list some of those drugs, their street names, and some of their side effects. Even though a rave may have no drug use going on, it's good to be informed.
|Proper Name||Street Name||Dangerous Side Effects|
|Ecstasy or MDMA||X, E, Adam, or MDMA||A stimulant and hallucinogen, ecstasy can cause dehydration and a marked increase in body temperature. This can lead to heart or kidney failure, and in extreme cases, death. Chronic use damages neurons that release serotonin and impairs memory.|
|Gamma- hydroxybutyrate||G, Liquid Ecstasy, or Georgia Home Boy||A central nervous system depressant that relaxes you in small does, but in large does, can make you vomit, put you in a coma, or even cause death. It may make you feel sleepy, thus leaving you vulnerable to date rape.|
|Ketamine||Special K, or K||An injectable anesthetic, teens sometimes snort or smoke it. This drug can cause delirium, amnesia, depression, and respiratory problems.|
|Rohynol||Roofies||Another date rape drug, Rohynol is tasteless and odorless and easily dissolves in drinks. It can make the user unable to remember what happened while under its influence.|
|Methamphetamine||Speed, Ice, Meth, or Chalk||A toxic, addictive stimulant in powder form, this drug causes agitation, paranoia, aggression, psychotic behavior, memory loss, and possible brain damage.|
|LSD or Lysergic Acid Diethylamide||Acid||This is a hallucinogen taken by mouth and can cause a psychotic break and/or flashbacks.|
The Verdict Is…
Ultimately teenagers are smart enough to attend a rave and not do drugs, become a victim of date rape, or get involved in a fight. Many are curious to see what all the hoopla is about, and since your friends may also be going, you feel a strong urge to attend. Before you decide on whether or not to go, think about all the dangers you may face and come up with a solid and workable plan to get yourself out of any unforeseen jams. Know your fire exits, tell an adult where you'll be, and keep your mind free and clear of drugs.
Ladies, a great trick is to never pick up a glass you've left behind when you come back from the restroom. Just buy another. You don't want to spend your night fighting paranoia wondering if someone has slipped something into your drink.
When someone asks you to do something you know you shouldn't, look them coolly in the eye and say, "Nah, man (or dude), that's not for me." With these tips in mind, you can wisely and safely choose between attending a teen rave or not. Simply use your own smarts to make the right decision.