Author: Justin Mckibben
The wild world of Electronic Dance Music (EDM) and the rave culture that surrounds it is often perceived as synonymous with drugs and alcohol. People assume that these shows are meant for doing drugs in order to enhance the live experience and heighten the senses to create a feeling of escapism. Although this may be a true narrative in some circles within the EDM culture, it is also another stigma that isn’t always the law of rave-land.
The stereotype is often used to define the dance world as a whole, but is not every regular raver’s reality. Many people in recovery still have a close connection to the music they love, and bask in the full immersion of off-the-hook crowds. Sobriety isn’t just meant for those who enjoy being home-bodies.
Recently, a famous EDM DJ known as Bassnectar took to social media to share a story and a strong message of the highly underestimated recovery community with the EDM culture.
Background on Bassnectar
For a little background, Bassnectar is an American DJ and record producer from the San Francisco Bay Area who performs regularly at various music festivals, including:
- Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival
The artist finished in 4th place in the 2013 America’s Best DJ competition, and while he has not toured for several years he has hosted numerous events of his own. His “family gatherings” are two or three day bass music events, named BassCenter with location changing every year. As of April 2017, the East Coast family gathering is to be held in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The event has since been dubbed Basslantic City.
Sober Fan Reaches Out
Recently a fan on Twitter messaged Bassnectar asking for help to sell his Basslantic City ticket because of a recent decision to be clean and sober. Bassnectar took a screen-shot of the message and shared the fans concern, which included that:
“I really want to go to Basslantic City but all my friends drink and do drugs so I don’t wanna put myself in that position as of right now…”
The fan was hesitant to be put in a tricky position due to being surrounded by friends who would be using drugs and drinking. It is refreshing to see someone who is trying to clean up take such a big step in making difficult but responsible choices. Still, Bassnectar wanted to show more than just compassion for sobriety; he wanted to give an proactive message of support to any fans struggling with a similar decision.
Bassnectar Makes Social Media Statement For Sober Fans
The DJ was quick to give the fan his congratulations immediately for taking a stand in changing his life. Not only did he give props to the fan, but Bassnectar responded with a lengthy message of support and offered to help connect him with other fans who feel the same way:
In his message to the fan he states:
“You most definitely DON’T need drugs to fit in, and also there are so many [THOUSANDS] of people who will be in Atlantic City with us this weekend, who won’t be abusing drugs…”
He went on to offer to connect the fan with sober contacts in the EDM community who would be there.
Following the conversation, Bassnectar took to his own Facebook account and made a long post about his support for clean and sober fans in the EDM crowd. He spoke at length about his own friends and peers, and about how his path has led him to focus more on health and clarity.
“Without judgments, I just wanted to share my own perspective that while it’s an amazing feeling to get high off the music (and ‘the vibe’) of a live music experience, it by no means needs to go hand-and-hand with drug abuse, or even with taking drugs or drinking.”
While Bassnectar did admit to having a glass of wine once in a while, and that he himself isn’t a recovery avatar, he went on to share his own experience and opinions on how he likes to keep clear, stating:
“I shared that from my own experience I prefer a clear head, a healthy body, and a nervous system with heightened sensitivity – I prefer health over ‘fun’”
Bassnectar went on to explain that while he had no intention of shaming any of his fans that do indulge or choose to party in more intense ways, he did advocate for building on the community of sober music lovers who show up to big concerts. He did share his own perspective on how the culture of getting high at concerts pressures people into doing things they shouldn’t do, but that he believed as an artist getting “high on the music” was a beautiful thing.
“Also, I just have to say, as an artist, I have zero interest in seeing my fans get ‘f**ked up’ – I don’t glorify violence of any kind, and I think that reckless drug abuse can be a form of violence.”
“I think it can be dangerous to ingest various chemicals in order to get a buzz. It may not ALWAYS be dangerous, but there is a risk! And in my opinion it’s not worth the risk – I have lost several dear friends to drug overdoses, and I have seen several people’s lives SHATTERED by drug abuse, by alcohol abuse, or by not living with a deep gratitude for health, and the care that comes with it – so I hope to inspire that care in anyone reading this.”
The Dj then concluded his message with:
“So if you are thinking of attending without drugs or alcohol and want to make a new friend, please email email@example.com and we will put you in touch with other bass heads who have the same attitude and will be there this weekend.
Again, NO JUDGEMENTS: we love you *ALL* and we are thrilled for the wild adventures that are about to take place in just a few days…. travel safe!”
Looking at the post and the comments on Bassnectar’s Facebook, over a thousand people have shared the post, with hundreds of comments showing support and solidarity for those in the EDM community who are recovering alcoholics and addicts, or simply people who are choosing to live a clean and sober life. Even specific groups like Hummingbirds (BassHeads for sobriety) reached out to offer a fellowship of strong sober support for the fans.
It is awesome to see advocacy and awareness from an artist so popular in a genre so frequently depicted as appealing to drug users and hard partiers. The stereotype is so common even among people who regularly attend the shows, but there is a large community of people who enjoy music festivals while being sober. You don’t need drugs or alcohol to have an awesome experience.
Music festivals are a unique experience, but some people use them as an excuse to abuse drugs that can dull them to that experience and put themselves at serious risk. There is a way to enjoy the exciting parts of life without getting high, and real recovery means learning how. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free now.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
Author: Justin Mckibben
Music is an amazing expression of life beyond what we can say. Music has the power to transcend how we feel, and has the power to give some essence and substance to the beauty and the pain that we believe in and live through in our lives. Music festivals are another awesome opportunity to live in that; let’s just get that out there. We are talking about being able to spend a day or even a week entranced by guitar strings, bass pumping a heartbeat that is a melting-pot of culture and rhythm, camping out with your friends and engaging in all types of free form frolick-like fun and other shenanigans. It can be an experience like no other, and a catalyst into a breakthrough for someone who easily gets caught up in their head.
But there is also the risk of running into some more questionable extra-curricular circumstances at music festivals, like drug use.
Social media has lately become a frequently used medium to accumulate aggregating data, given that everyone is so willing to share their experiences and lives online the whole task of collecting information is made so much simpler. With sites like Facebook and Instagram that allow for fair use of users’ data, by logging on and translating vast quantities of shared experiences and preferences you can decipher a lot, and recently one website released some data detailing the amount of times that certain drugs were mentioned in Instagram posts with relevant festivals.
It should be understood that this is not a scientific study, and does not exactly describe the quantity or drugs taken at these festivals or how many people took them. This study simply took note of how often these drugs were mentioned in a variety of contexts.
Top Drugs Mentioned at Certain Festivals
The graphic released by the site depicted the percentage of social media posts mentioning a specific substance AND event. Again these posts are not direct evidence that each individual was themselves using the substance mentioned, but these averages are meant to show the music festivals and concerts where we see the highest mentions of specific drugs.
- Mushrooms- 7.42%
- DMT– 7.22%
- LSD- 5.64%
- Crack Cocaine- 3.85%
- Mescaline- 0.48%
- MDMA/Molly/Ecstasy- 21.00%
- Mushrooms- 2.81%
- LSD- 2.6%
- Mescaline- 0.43%
- Marijuana- 25.11%
Electric Daisy Carnival
- MDMA/Molly/Ecstasy- 42.99%
- DMT- 0.90%
- Pills- 0.47%
- Mescaline- 0.33%
- Cocaine- 10.67%
- Opioids- 5.63%
- Pills- 0.29%
- Marijuana- 25.05%
- Mushrooms- 5.99%
- Crack Cocaine- 3.73%
Ultra Music Festival
- MDMA/Molly/Ecstasy- 37.68%
- LSD- 2.61%
Mad Decent Block Party
- Cocaine- 11.76%
- Opioids- 5.88%
It doesn’t come as much of a shock to anyone familiar with the reputation of Burning Man to see that psychedelics were most prevalent in posts from that festival. Also showing up in many Burning Man Instagram posts was crack cocaine, a drug not commonly associated with music festivals, yet it shows up a few times on the list.
What may also not be much of a surprise is the prevelance of MDMA/Molly/Ecstasy in relation to the electronic music festivals listed, including Electric Daisy Carnival, Ultra Music Festival, Camp Bisco.
The data shown on the graph only listed the top 3 concerts or festivals by substance, so some only made the list in one category for one substance, but that still deserves mention.
- Coachella for one only made the list once with its popular posts relating to cocaine use.
- The same goes for Marley Fest, which didn’t make the top 3 in any other category, but scored highest on marijuana posts with 82.04% of Instagram posts containing key words relating to marijuana. Far out, right?
- And the highest stat of ALL averages of social media posts actually came out of the KISS’s Chili Cook-off, where more than 90% of posts were related to alcohol.
Giving It Some Thought
So when we take into account all the information laid at our eyes by this collection of pics, tweets and tags, we have to acknowledge that drug use is prevalent at all music festivals, even the KISS Chili Cook-off and not just the more infamous and flamboyant festivals like Burning Man.
Giving it some thought, it doesn’t matter where you go, there will always been temptation. Realistically whether you are at a music festival or a middle-school play-ground there will be the possibility of exposure to drugs. What is important isn’t that we blame the places and things, but instead make an honest effort to educate young people about the dangers these drugs pose to them, and promote positive life-style choices that still allow for them to experience exciting events.
In sobriety I have attended music festivals and concerts. I have a roommate who has been sober a number of years and goes to more concerts and festivals than anyone I know, and I actually attend more live concerts and events in sobriety than I ever did using drugs and drinking. My life has been a lot more fulfilling for each experience, and getting my life back (and better) has shown me that I can be in the moment, and that freedom for me makes more room for the music.
Music festivals are a unique experience, but too many people use them as an excuse to abuse drugs that can dull them to that experience and put them at serious risk. Too many times we hear stories of people serious hurt or poisoned by drugs at concerts, and that doesn’t sound worth it. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)
By Cheryl Steinberg
MDMA, also known as Molly or ecstasy, is an illegal drug that acts as both a stimulant and psychedelic. It causes an energizing effect as well as distortions in the user’s sense of time and overall perception. People on MDMA experience an enhanced enjoyment of tactile and other sensory experiences, such as smells and sounds. Users often report having feelings of mental stimulation, emotional warmth, increased empathy towards others, a general sense of well-being, and a decrease in anxiety.
It’s important to keep in mind that often times, people looking to buy and use MDMA, whether in powder form (Molly) or pill form (Ecstasy) are taking an added risk because all drugs can and often are adulterated (“cut”) with other drugs and substances. This, of course, leaves the user at an increased risk for complications and even overdose and death because the mixing of drugs – especially when it is not known which drugs are involved – can create a dangerous – fatal situation.
MDMA Withdrawal Symptoms (can last up to 1 week or longer after MDMA use):
MDMA users report feeling anxious, restless, irritable, and sad; in some individuals these symptoms can be as severe as true clinical depression.
- Sleep Disturbances
- Lack of appetite
- Reduced libido and pleasure from sex
- Significant reductions in mental abilities
MDMA: Potential Adverse Health Effects
- Muscle cramping
- Blurred vision
- High Blood Pressure
- Heart failure
- Kidney failure
- Arrhythmia – irregular heartbeat
Overdose Profile: MDMA
- High Blood Pressure
- Feeling faint, lightheaded, dizzy
- Panic attacks
- Loss of consciousness
- Hyperthermia – increased body temperature
MDMA is a stimulant and is often used in the rave/dance scene. The use of MDMA along with vigorous physical activity for extended periods can lead to hyperthermia. This is one of the most significant and acute adverse effects, which means that there is an extreme and noticeable increase in body temperature.
Hyperthermia is dangerous because it can rapidly lead to muscle breakdown and kidney failure. Furthermore, dehydration, hypertension, and heart failure can occur in MDMA users.
Treatment of hyperthermia requires prompt medical attention, as MDMA can also reduce the pumping efficiency of the heart of particular concern during periods of increased physical activity, further complicating these problems.
MDMA and Water Intoxication: Another Health Threat
Believe it or not, it’s actually possible to die from drinking too much water. And, it’s an actual thing; it’s called water intoxication, and it’s a potentially fatal disruption in brain functions that results when there is an imbalance of electrolytes in the body, which are – in this case – washed away by over-hydration.
Electrolytes are minerals in your blood and other body fluids that carry an electric charge that affect the amount of water in your body, the acidity of your blood (pH), your muscle function, and other important processes. You lose electrolytes when you sweat and that’s why it’s so important to stay hydrated while working out, for example. But you have to drink fluids that contain electrolytes; water alone will not replenish them because it doesn’t contain any electrolytes.
Also known as water poisoning or dilutional hyponatremia, people who use drugs such as MDMA and “Ecstasy” tend to overexert themselves, sweat a lot, as well as cause the user to urinate less (despite the increased intake in water). This means that there is even more water being retained by the body of the MDMA user, making water intoxication all the more likely.
Water intoxication can and has led to fatal incidents among MDMA users.
Any time you take a drug, you are taking a risk with your health. This goes for prescribed drugs, as well. The best thing you can do is inform yourself so that you can make better decisions about your health and what you put into your body. MDMA is not considered physically addictive however it has a very powerful potential for psychological dependence and addiction. If you are stuck in a cycle of drug abuse and addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.
By Cheryl Steinberg
Public support for the use of psychedelic drugs in a therapeutic setting is rapidly growing, as we’ve already reported. Cases such as the use of LSD to treat depression and possibly addiction are indications of that. MDMA has been used to treat PTSD. There’s ayahuasca-assisted therapy to treat drug addiction. LSD for cluster headaches and psilocybin for nicotine addiction.
Well, the latest news on the alternative medicine front has to do with the therapeutic use of MDMA – the pure form of the club drug Ecstasy – for use in treating specific situations involving a psychological disorder. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has just approved the first clinical trial using MDMA in psychotherapy sessions in order to treat anxiety in people who are also suffering with life-threatening illnesses, researchers told Al Jazeera on Tuesday.
So, as it stands, MDMA is not being used to treat anxiety, alone; rather anxiety in people who are already sick.
The DEA approved the project on Friday, says Brad Burge, the communications director for the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). He added, “The tide has changed for psychedelic research.” MAPS is a California-based nonprofit research group that is sponsoring the study. Researchers at MAPS study medicinal uses for psychedelics as well as marijuana.
On the MAPS website, the distinction between Ecstasy or Molly, which are street names for MDMA, and actual, pure MDMA. The stuff sold on the street and in clubs is often “cut” with other drugs and chemicals so as to bolster profits for dealers, putting the user unknowingly at risk. But, the MAPS website says, pure MDMA has been proven “sufficiently safe” when taken a limited number of times in moderate doses.
First Clinical Trial for MDMA Use in Therapy
Unlike psychedelics such as LSD and psilocybin, MDMA does not produce hallucinations, which is some people may find disturbing. Rather, MDMA can be induces feelings of calm, trust and confidence, all of which can be extremely useful for people suffering from anxiety due to life-threatening illnesses, when used in combination with psychotherapy.
The clinical trial will be held in Marin, California, and has purposely been designed to take place in a psychologist’s office, instead of a hospital setting, Burge said. The patients will lie on a couch with a therapist nearby who will lend support and facilitate conversation.
The trial will consist of 18 subjects who have been diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses and who suffer from anxiety as a result. The participants will attend psychotherapy sessions over the course of several months, with MDMA being incorporated in only some of those sessions, in order to facilitate the process, Burge said. The outcome will be measured at the end of the sessions by the patient’s self-reporting and the therapist’s assessments regarding whether using the drug helped to reduce people’s anxiety.
Of MDMA, Burge said, “It opens [patients] up and makes them more comfortable with the therapist while reducing fear and making them more able to talk about difficult emotions.”
If this pilot clinical trial is a success, MAPS has plans to continue the research with larger studies that involve more participants as well as different approaches. For now, though, the goal of the researchers is to establish basic safety and effectiveness.
The trial is part of a larger $20 million plan to make MDMA an FDA-approved prescription medicine by 2021, Burge said. MAPS is the only organization in the world funding MDMA-assisted psychotherapy trials, he added.
Changing the Stigma
Researchers hope to add to and bolster already-existing (and growing) evidence that psychedelics have legitimate therapeutic uses — as well as to challenge the stigma that has demonized them as harsh drugs that destroy the mind.
“That’s what the really good science shows, despite decades of propaganda and government misinformation,” Burge said. “Just a couple weeks ago, a phenomenal study showed that there are no long-term associations between psychedelic use and mental illnesses.”
That study was published this month in the Journal of Psychopharmacology. In addition, a recent report by Johns Hopkins Medicine showed that the use of psychedelic drugs, specifically psilocybin and LSD, could reduce psychological distress and suicidal thinking.
Addiction and mental illness are often co-occurring conditions in substance use disorder cases. Luckily, there are specially-equipped, intentionally-designed treatment programs that offer dual diagnosis treatment and therapy. These programs, such as the one here at Palm Partners, are adept at treating all conditions simultaneously so that healing can start and the recovery process can be begun. Please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135 today.
Author: Justin Mckibben
Ecstasy is one of the street names for the illicit drug MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine). Ecstasy is a synthetic, psychoactive drug that is described as having similarities to both the stimulant amphetamine and the hallucinogen mescaline. There is also the form of Ecstasy commonly known as ‘Molly’, which is short for molecule that has become popular as being considered to be pure MDMA. The difference is that Ecstasy is generally is laced with other ingredients, such as caffeine or methamphetamine.
Ecstasy is addictive that means that there is a such thing as ecstasy withdrawals. And while most people don’t end up getting addicted physically to it, mentally it is very easy due to the great feelings it produces. Here are some ecstasy withdrawal symptoms.
MDMA works in a particular way; it brings you up, and then you crash down. The crash occurs when the drug is leaving your body, so most of these Ecstasy withdrawal symptoms are experienced shortly after using.
Ecstasy Withdrawals: Common Symptoms
It is common to feel fearful and high levels of anxiety during Ecstasy withdrawals. As the brain restores its serotonin levels, anxiety should eventually subside. Depending on the usage this could be a prolonged period of time.
Mental confusion and cognitive impairment is a common symptom of Ecstasy withdrawals.
After stopping many people say they crave Ecstasy. The drug makes many people feel so good that they cannot think of living life without it.
Because your brain chemicals are out of homeostasis you may not feel like your real self when coming off of Ecstasy.
One of the most difficult symptoms of Ecstasy withdrawals for people to deal with is depression. Depression is a common symptom and is a result of abnormally low levels of serotonin. Even worse, some cutting edge research in relation to ecstasy has reported that taking the drug just a couple of times could potentially cause long term brain damage that leads to depression.
Certain people may experience delusions or “false beliefs” about reality during Ecstasy withdrawals. They may think that someone is out to get them in similar manner to someone would with schizophrenia.
Ecstasy withdrawals can also make you feel both mentally and physically fatigued. The lethargy may be overwhelming initially and you may find yourself sleeping or tired on a consistent basis.
Hallucinations could be both auditory and visual when experiencing Ecstasy withdrawals. These are not the typical symptoms, but there are documented reports of people seeing things and/or hear voices.
Inability to fall asleep at night is another common symptom that could be a result of your withdrawal.
If you find yourself becoming increasingly irritable, just know that this is a common symptom of Ecstasy withdrawals.
Another symptom of Ecstasy withdrawals is loss of appetite. Someone may not feel like eating for a while after coming down from Ecstasy. Do your best to eat what you can and consume healthy foods.
It is pretty common for people withdrawing from any drug to experience mood swings, but when having Ecstasy withdrawals mood swings are particularly common due to the fact that the drug throws your brain’s serotonin and dopamine levels out of homeostasis.
Experiencing temporary memory loss is another symptom that some people report, but not everyone experiences this problem.
Some people experience muscle rigidity and/or stiffness – almost like they are constantly flexed. In order to reduce this rigidity and possible soreness, give it time.
Any drug that affects the serotonin system could result in the user experiencing panic attacks when trying to withdraw.
In long-term frequent users, many develop paranoid thinking. This is again due to the drug affecting the serotonin and dopamine of the brain. Although it releases more serotonin than dopamine, the decreased amount of dopamine stores could result in paranoid thinking.
Due to your brain trying to readjust, you may notice lapses in your ability to concentrate. Withdrawal symptoms from MDMA are similar to that of amphetamines.
Some people experience psychosis or psychotic-like symptoms when coming off of this drug.
Ecstasy Withdrawals: Getting Help
It is not at all uncommon that a person who is going through the Ecstasy withdrawals will actually reach for alcohol or various other types of drugs to help them to relax and to numb themselves to the more harsh symptoms of crashing off of Ecstasy. This unfortunately will typically just become another addiction to any of these substitute chemicals, and creates a compounded damage on the body.
The best way to combat a serious Ecstasy addiction and the withdrawals related to that addiction is to undergo a safe medical detox, and address the other aspects of the addiction through a drug abuse treatment program. Trying to dull the negative impact of Ecstasy with more drugs is definitely going to do more harm than good, and the longer you wait the more damage your body can sustain. That and with such an unpredictable and dangerous drug, there may never be a chance to change.
While many do not understand the reality of what risks they run with abusing MDMA and other drugs, there are many who are very aware of the dangers but who are still afraid of giving it up. With the right kind of treatment for Ecstasy addiction anyone has a real fighting chance of changing for life. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.