I believe, if left unchecked, NBOMe will damage the dance music scene on a scale that hasn’t been seen since the RAVE Act. I’ve been doing some research for the last several months, and this issue has continued to crop up. 25i, NBOMe or N-Bomb, as it’s called, has been repeatedly showing up at festivals and parties on the East Coast. At this point, NBOMe has killed more Americans than Ebola. I don’t mean to be glib, but there just in the last month there are NBOMe associated deaths reported in Boca, Boston & Mankato, Minnesota. There’s also been reports of people using/dying in Australia, but of more concern to our domestic festival attendees, TomorrowWorld may have had some of this stuff as well.
Something happened at TomorrowWorld that I think illustrates really the central issue that American festival culture needs to confront. This is a market demand issue at its core, but threads into every aspect of both festival & club culture. I was told by some people working at TomorrowWorld that rumors were going around kids needed medical transport around the time a “bad batch of LSD” seemed to hit the festival. Apparently 6 medical transports were needed to take care of people, and they had similar symptoms. This smacks of kids being sold NBOMe that’s being passed off as LSD. TomorrowWorld takes safety very seriously, but it’s very hard to prevent this kind of thing. To stress, there were no deaths, but people needed attention, because of greed & dishonesty. This isn’t even a new phenomenon. There are documented calls of “do not eat the brown acid” at Woodstock. And if you don’t believe me HERE IS THE AUDIO. 50 years later, and we’re still fighting the same fight. I think this can only be dealt with doing two things.
First, we need to acknowledge that the war on drugs is creating more dangerous drugs. All of these people want LSD, but they can’t get it, so they’re buying stuff that “feels” like LSD. Except while LSD is just rumored by old people to put you in the hospital, NBOMe has a track record of putting people in the hospital. This point needs to be admitted by the community and we need to stop kidding ourselves about the effects of drug prohibition. Not only do people still get the drugs they want, but now, a bunch of people are getting things they didn’t want, and it’s hurting them.
Secondly, we need to get at the core of what causes illness & fatalities, as rare as they are, in the exploding scene. The RAVE Act unfairly punishes producers & promoters for having services on site that protect festivalgoers and party people. This needs to change. Thankfully, there’s a significant movement to Amend The Rave Act by DanceSafe, the Drug Policy Alliance, the Electronic Music Alliance, and many artists & other organizations. We can learn a lot from those organizations and festivals outside of the USA. Check out the footage from the Boom Festival (very not in the USA).
This doesn’t excuse us as a community. People shit on PLUR a lot, but then lament when dealers treat people the way Wal-Mart treats America. I don’t understand how anyone can be surprised at predatory capitalism in the scene when it’s literally everywhere else. YourEDM tried to get at this concept, but my girl J Leo did some masterful & confrontational work on this subject which I highly recommend. Get some information about this, and be very careful if you tango in that psychedelic direction. I can’t say it’s a good idea right now. Please join me on twitter at 4:30 PM EST for #dffryday, where I’ll be discussing NBOMe with DanceSafe, Stay Safe Seattle & other members of the community.