My Feb 3rd letter to City Council

To: Charlotte City Council

I see the Council will be moving on the Dance Hall issue soon and that there will be some form of regulation. That's certainly much better than what's there now. Unfortunately, I think you'll be revisiting this subject again sometime in the next year or so because of some violent episode or a tragic drug death or two. Perhaps that's the best compromize that can be put together. However, I really question the age restrictions that the Public Safety failed to address.

First,  I doubt most parents allow 16 & 17 year olds to stay out past midnite let alone 2 a.m. (which means they will be out on the road till
3 a.m. or later) Therefore this seems counterproductive to many parents efforts to limit exposure to the  dangers of these dance clubs (let alone trying to get them up for church on a Sunday). Most of you have or had teenagers. Imagine the arguments you will hear trying to keep your youngster from going to these clubs because so and so's parents allow Tommy down the street to go? If you wouldn't want your teen to be out past midnite, why would you legitimize  hip for-profit dance clubs efforts to entice your youngster to go? Think about it from a parents prospective. This is a wonderful opportunity to harmonize government policy with the vast majority of parental guidelines for their teens. Seize that opportunity now..don't wait for the inevitable tragedy to occur  that will force you to enact it later.

Second, what about 18-20 year-olds? I saw no mention of that in the news article. Are you going to let them stay out all night and mix with the
21 and older crowd? That's the highest risk age bracket there is for club drugs and most prone to overdose! Surely, there are some restrictions like 2 a.m. and weekends only! It would be mind boggling if the Council missed this opportunity to spare inexperienced teens likely harm from all-night raves. I must remind you that most of Florida metro areas have banned dance clubs altogether after 2:30! So don't be bashful! Otherwise, this is an ineffectual ordinance that will continue to allow these dance clubs to be spawning grounds for youth substance abuse.

Finally, the following is an interesting note from Dance safe's recent e-mail newsletter. It gives some guidance on taking drugs to enhance the Rave experience. After reading it several times it seems like the best thing to me is just don't do any of this crap. The chances of real harm by taking the wrong thing, too much of one drug or mixing several types seem quite high. Consequently, I hope the club industry and the police(who will have the unpopular job of enforcing these new regulations till dawn) are up for this difficult and ceaseless task. Of course, the City council could do much to limit the scope of this task by enacting smart legislation that limits risk to teens 20 years of age and younger. If you're not, how can you expect them to?


Mike Jones


3. The Facts About DXM

The following information about DXM has recently been revised and added to the DanceSafe web site.

What is DXM?

DXM is dextromethorphan. It is a legal cough suppressant found in many over-the-counter cough syrups. In high doses it acts as a "dissociative anaesthetic" like ketamine or PCP.  A high dose will cause you to feel very spacey and "out of it," and you may lose motor control (your legs may feel wobbly, for example, or at very high doses you won't be able to move much at all). It can also produce audio and visual hallucinations,and can sometimes cause nausea and itchy skin.

Some people use DXM recreationally. When they do, they nearly always do it at home, in bed or on their couch.  DXM is definitely not a dance drug, and getting scammed with a DXM tablet when you are expecting ecstasy is no fun at all. It can also be quite dangerous.

Watch Out!

High doses of DXM have contributed to numerous cases of rave-related heatstroke.  Most heatstroke emergencies DanceSafe volunteers have witnessed around the country have resulted after an individual unsuspectingly consumed DXM rather than MDMA. Many drugs can increase the risk of heatstroke in a hot environment by inhibiting the body's ability to regulate its temperature. Both MDMA and DXM carry this risk, but anecdotal evidence suggests DXM is much more likely to contribute to life-threatening heatstroke reactions at raves (especially when taking multiple tablets).

Correction: In previous literature we reported that DXM had "anti-cholinergic" effects. Upon a more careful review of the medical literature, this appears not to be the case. The pharmacological activity of DXM that increases heatstroke potential is less cut and dry, and is likely related to its effects on serotonin. Also, while DXM tablets are more likely to induce medical emergencies in dance environments when they are being passed off as "ecstasy" to unsuspecting consumers, serious adverse reactions are rare among purposeful DXM users who consume the drug in home environments.

Don't Mix different brands of E together.

It is even more dangerous to combined DXM with real Ecstasy.  Both drugs are metabolized through the same liver enzyme, CYP-2D6 (pronounced "sip-two-dee-six), which means that if you combine them together your liver will not be able to break them down as efficiently as it should. This can lead to significantly heightened effects from the DXM, and a much greater chance of suffering a heatstroke reaction.

What if you think you have accidentally ingested DXM?

Taking breaks from dancing, and staying hydrated are always the best ways to reduce the risk of heatstroke at a rave or crowded club. If you think you may have accidentally consumed a pill containing DXM, however, you should probably not dance at all, and should stay in a cool environment.  Have some friends watch out for you, and chill out for the evening. Remember, your chances of heatstroke are greater if you have consumed DXM, and greatest if you have consumed both MDMA and DXM together.

Can I Tell if a Pill has DXM in it Before I Take It?

Yes. The Ecstasy Testing Kit can identify pills which contain DXM.

Why are people selling DXM as "Ecstasy?"

DXM is cheap, legal and easy to obtain, while making MDMA is expensive and risky.  This is why people are selling DXM as ecstasy: to cash in on the high demand for MDMA without undergoing the risk or expense.  The manufacturers of these fake pills are trying to make money, but they may not be aware of the dangers they are inflicting upon users. Help spread the word about the dangers of DXM being sold as ecstasy.

Here are some informative web sites on DXM:

This information is available on the DanceSafe web site at

To learn more about the adulterated market and the need for adulterant screening, visit

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