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Association with recreational drug use
Dance music has a long association with recreational drug use, particularly with a wide range of drugs that have been categorized under the name “club drugs“. Russell Smith noted that the association of drugs and music subcultures was by no means exclusive to electronic music, citing previous examples of music genres that were associated with certain drugs, such as psychedelic rock and LSD, disco music and cocaine, and punk music and heroin.
Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), also known as ecstasy, “E”, or “Molly”, is often considered the drug of choice within the rave culture and is also used at clubs, festivals and house parties. In the rave environment, the sensory effects from the music and lighting are often highly synergistic with the drug. The psychedelic amphetamine quality of MDMA offers multiple reasons for its appeals to users in the “rave” setting. Some users enjoy the feeling of mass communion from the inhibition-reducing effects of the drug, while others use it as party fuel because of the drug’s stimulatory effects. Another drug para-Methoxyamphetamine (4-MA) also known as pink ecstasy, PMA, “Death” or “Dr. Death”, it is similar to MDMA but they can take up to an hour to produce effects, which can result in hyperthermia and subsequently, organ failure. People who take PMA are often mistaken for it being identified as MDMA.
MDMA is occasionally known for being taken in conjunction with psychedelic drugs. The more common combinations include MDMA combined with LSD, MDMA combined with DMT, MDMA with psilocybin mushrooms, and MDMA with the dissociative drug ketamine. Many users use mentholated products while taking MDMA for its cooling sensation while experiencing the drug’s effects. Examples include menthol cigarettes, Vicks VapoRub, NyQuil, and lozenges.
The incidence of nonmedical ketamine has increased in the context of raves and other parties. However, its emergence as a club drug differs from other club drugs (e.g. MDMA) due to its anesthetic properties (e.g., slurred speech, immobilization) at higher doses; in addition, there are reports of ketamine being sold as “ecstasy”. The use of ketamine as part of a “postclubbing experience” has also been documented. Ketamine’s rise in the dance culture was rapid in Hong Kong by the end of the 1990s. Before becoming a federally controlled substance in the United States in 1999, ketamine was available as diverted pharmaceutical preparations and as a pure powder sold in bulk quantities from domestic chemical supply companies. Much of the current ketamine diverted for nonmedical use originates in China and India.