In the UK alone, the total number of people who have tried Ecstasy is estimated at over 5 million. There are some 1.2 million regular Ecstasy users, and an an estimated 400,000 people take E each weekend. This figure has remained constant over several years as older ravers get bored and move on, and young new acolytes rise up to swell the ranks.
Through Acid House, Hardcore, Drum 'n Bass, Techno and the current Trance boom, every rebirth of dance music brings new people into nightclubs and into contact with Ecstasy.
In America, the rave scene is growing, despite harsh law enforcement, poor quality 'electronica' music and huge amounts of Ecstasy hysteria.
Between October 1, 1999, and February 29, 2000, US Customs agents confiscated 4 million tablets of the drug, one million more than in the whole of last year. Seizures of Ecstasy are expected to grow eight-fold by the end of the year.
the perfect E space
The modern nightclub, with its sound-activated vibrating floor, intense lasers, light shows, and 20K state-of-the-art sound system, is the result of the continuing evolution of the perfect space in which to take ecstasy.
And while bouncers conduct strict front-door searches, the back doors are freely open to dealers as the DJs and VIPs take it away from public view.
rite of passage
Ecstasy has brought drugs into the mainstream. It has even been suggested that trying ecstasy and cannabis is now a teenage rite-of-passage, almost as casual as alcohol and cigarettes were in the past.
Ecstasy may even be replacing alcohol for a new generation. Booze is now packaged with ever more club-like branding. Strobe, K and NT (Night Time) are aggressively marketed to appeal to the disinterested youth market.
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At present, political contingents in Holland, Spain and Denmark are leading calls in Europe for decriminalization, while Switzerland is conducting clinical trials to facilitate medical use once again.
The Dutch government even fund pill-testing stations in an attempt to protect the public from dangerous pills. It also gives them a knowledge of what's 'down on the streets'. All the weak, fake and possibly contaminated pills that wouldn't be accepted by knowledgeable Dutch users now get shipped to Britain and the rest of Europe.
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