Rampant Ecstasy Abuse Threatens $5B Electric Concert Biz

Addiction Treatment Industry Newswire
09/11/2013 –ATIN – Rampant abuse of the designer drug ecstasy, and specifically a bad batch that brought death and mayhem over the Labor Day weekend to Electric Zoo, a huge annual electronic music dance concert on Randall’s Island in New York City, is threatening to derail the rapid growth of the $4.5B electric dance rave concert industry. So big has the industry become – it centers around turntable wielding, rock star-like DJs who churn out loud thumping repetitive musical refrains – that it has attracted intense interest on Wall Street, where financiers and investors are scrambling to get a piece of an overwhelmingly youth oriented play with a bright future possibly akin to the business opportunity presented by the 1950s birth of Rock ‘n Roll.

Canceled Concert

Another thing these massive dance concerts center on, unfortunately, is the abuse of ecstasy, which first appeared on the scene in the early 1980s and began a trend toward innovative chemistry in drug dealing, giving birth to a now thriving “designer” niche of the huge black market in illegal drugs. Ecstasy, or MDMA in its formal chemical moniker, is a close chemical match to the 1960s “love drug” MDA and is aptly named because it produces feelings of overwhelming well-being. A parent’s nightmare, ecstasy is widely used to overcome the awkwardness of youthful first sex encounters and disgusting stories of stairwell dance club orgies abound. Over Labor Day, a bad batch hit the massive Electric Zoo concert on Randall’s Island, leaving two dead, scores badly sick and stories like cops finding a partially dressed 10-yr-old huddling under a car while on a “bad trip.” According to published reports, as many as six people have died over the summer concert season in events coast-to-coast where youths gather sometimes by the hundreds of thousands at a time. The Labor Day ecstasy disaster on Randall’s Island forced the cancellation of the last day of the 3-day Electric Zoo, probably the most prominent event of the burgeoning rave dance concert circuit.

Sponsorships Threatened

Also central to this fast growing concert circuit, and what sits are the core of the money making proposition for concert promoters, are corporate sponsorships for events like Electric Zoo, sponsorships that have become increasingly threatened by the intense negative publicity generated by ecstasy abuse at the concerts. The front page, sensationalistic New York Post tabloid newspaper headlines following the Labor Day ecstasy fiasco could not have come at worse time for electric dance event company SFX Entertainment, which is just weeks away from launching a big $300M initial public offering, IPO. SFX is the first of what Wall Street firms hope will be a series of successful IPOs for companies involved in what analysts estimate is the $4.5B a year electronic dance music and concert industry. SFX in particular is particularly hard hit by the mounting bad publicity surrounding the rampant ecstasy abuse because it specifically makes money as a middleman in the sponsorship sphere, pitching the sponsorships to corporates and then managing them for a fee.

Treating Ecstasy Addiction

In recent years Treatment Magazine has had numerous discussions with addiction treatment operators nationwide about the mounting ecstasy abuse problem. What they report is that, while many clients are abusing ecstasy, the drug is rarely listed as a primary “drug of choice” by people seeking treatment. And designer drugs, including ecstasy, if they are heavily abused have been known create psychotic breakdowns. When that occurs, of course, clientele are mostly then cared for in the acute initial treatment stages in psychiatric lockdown type care.


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