The issue of whether rave parties should be abandoned has recently come into the media. This issue has arisen because at a dance party that was recently held in Melbourne, 11 youths were taken to hospital after overdosing on GBH. The articles that directly address this issue are ‘We can’t rant about raves’, ‘Call for dance party ban rejected’ and ‘One in five try killer drug GHB‘.
In an article entitled ‘We can’t rant about raves’ written by Jim Stynes, Mr Stynes argues that banning rave parties will not solve the drug problem. Stynes believes that society is focusing on the wrong thing. He believes that society resorts to demanding the raves be shut down instead of focusing on the real issue about why youths are taking drugs in the first place. Stynes, co-founder of Reach, goes on to argue that most of the people who are commenting on the raves, have in fact, never been to a rave themselves.
Stynes clearly supports rave parties and says that they are a way for many people to express themselves in ways that they perhaps can’t do in their normal day to day lives. Most of the people that attend these rave parties are there for the music and not for the drugs. He goes on to say that these rave parties are a ’tribal experience’ for many people and that these rave parties give people of various backgrounds a reason to come together and ’feel like they belong, like they matter’.
In separating the rave party scene from the use of GBH, Stynes does not condone the use of GBH or the drug problem itself. However, he believes that until the problem is properly addressed, nothing that is done will be successful. He makes it clear that to properly address the issue, the government must identify why young people are taking drugs and then taking positive actions to help rectify the problem.
In an article entitled ’Call for dance party ban rejected’ written by Christine Caulfield, the consequences of taking drugs are outlined. Josh Brooker, who has lost a number of friends to drug overdoses, wants raves to be banned before they claim more lives. He believes that rave parties encourage drug taking and dangerous behaviour among ‘impressionable’ youth.
Brooker clearly opposes rave parties and has campaigned against them after he was introduced to the raving culture as a teenager. He believes the government should consider restricting raves to people aged 18 years and over. He believes that young, impressionable 15 and 16 year olds should not be allowed to go to rave parties.
Acting Premier John Thwaites rejected the proposed ban and argues that if raves were banned, they wouldn’t disappear and that they would only be driven underground. He maintains that a rave is really only a dance party and that dancing has been around for a long time. He believes that what needs to be addressed is not the raves themselves but the attitude young people have towards drugs like GBH. Thwaites clearly supports rave parties and believes the message that needs to get across to young people is that drugs like GBH are dangerous because you can’t control what it is that you are actually getting.
In an article entitled ‘One in five try killer drug GHB’ written by Patrick O’Neil and Christine Caulfield, the dangers of taking GBH are made known. According to a recent study, estimates of about 1 in 5 Victorian drug users have tried GBH. Paul Dillon from the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre said the drug has already caused at least 6 deaths in New South Wales and that Victorian deaths would be inevitable.
The research also found that GBH is more available than speed and just as available as ice. GBH is considered a cheap alternative to ecstasy at under $5 a dose, yet still causing the same effect. According to drug experts and drug users, overdoses are very common with the use of GBH because drug is extremely potent even in small doses. Dillon said that deaths that are caused by GBH are difficult to calculate because post mortem tests need to be done before the drug becomes untraceable in the body. Therefore an accurate number can’t be established. Dillon believes that organised crime is responsible for young people easily getting their hands on GBH and that young users are at a high risk of death because their friends may be too scared to call the ambulance.
Supt Mick Williams of Victoria police said that an awareness campaign that educates rave partygoers about the dangers of taking drugs was crucial to trying to address and solve the problem. He believes that banning the raves would not solve the problem and it would only make it worse. This would drive them underground and we would face even more devastating consequences.
Overall, the articles caution people against demonising the rave culture and also caution young people against taking drugs. It is the drugs not the youths that are the problem.
Monday, July 19, 2004
THE TRUTH ABOUT GBH
Gamma hydroxy-butyrate or GBH as it’s more commonly known, has recently made it’s way into almost every paper in the country after an incident with a number of youths overdosing at a rave party in Melbourne. Given that it is youths that are the focal point of these GBH overdoses, I believe it is imperative that the important facts about GBH are made known by youths, for youths.
Although GBH has only recently made its way into the headlines, it has been around for a number of years. It was first manufactured in the 1920’s and was used as an anaesthetic agent in the late 1960’s. It is a fast acting central nervous system depressant that is abused for its ability to induce overjoyed and hallucinogenic states and also for its alleged function as a growth hormone. It was used as a performance enhancing additive in bodybuilding formulas until it was banned in late 1990. GBH is usually taken orally and is sold as a light-coloured powder that easily dissolves in liquids or as a pure liquid packaged in small bottles. When in liquid form, it’s clear, odourless, tasteless and virtually undetectable when mixed with a drink. Given that it is undetectable when mixed with a drink, it’s is being termed the new ’date rape’ drug and a number of cases have been reported to date. In addition, it is very easy to get hold of and very inexpensive at $5 to $10 per dose. The fact that it is a low-priced drug is perhaps what young youths find so appealing about it. A quick and cheap thrill.
The effects of taking GBH vary greatly and that is just another complication. It can make it difficult for doctors to identify what drug the patient has overdosed on. Being addicted to GBH is no different than being addicted to heroin, marijuana or cocaine. An addict is an addict. So I urge anyone with a problem or knows someone who has one, to go and get help. Who knows ? It may just save you’re life.
409 Wellington Parade
15 March 2004
300 Collins Street
Dear SRC Representative,
I am writing to you regarding an article that I read recently in the Herald Sun, titled ‘Class of Lost Kids‘. It gave a clear indication of ministers’ and school council presidents’ views on student absenteeism in Victorian schools. It was stated that truancy, parental apathy, extended holidays and family shopping trips are reasons why student attendance levels are decreasing. In fact, parental attitudes were strongly criticised. However I believe that parents may have various reasons for permitting absence at given times. Parents may make judgements that take into account the overall well being of their child and given the increased pressures on families, it may be appropriate at times for a child to be absent from school. In addition, absence does not always equate to time mismanagement.
Although ministers’ have outlined reasons why absenteeism is reaching crisis levels, they fail to point out that another reason for absenteeism could be motivation, or lack thereof. In my opinion, motivation is one of, if not the most important keys to a student’s success in their studies at school. It becomes an even more crucial factor once they commence their Victorian Certificate of Education. As a student currently undertaking my VCE, I have noticed how difficult it is to put effort into my studies when I have a lack of motivation. Not only have I noticed it within myself, but also within my peer group. I see many of peers struggling with their studies because they aren’t interested in the tasks at hand. Is it really the parents that are at fault or could changes to schools curriculum assist in making students more motivated?
Instead of pointing the finger, education ministers’ could take it upon themselves to call for more activities for students that are based outside the school grounds. As Mr Andrew Blair, Victorian president of the Secondary Principals Association stated, school may not be the right place for students in Years 8 and 9. I believe Mr Blair also makes a valid point about community learning programs and how they could be beneficial if introduced. I am rather confident that parents, teachers and students alike would embrace a system where students are taken out of the school environment and placed into one that is more motivational and nurturing.
A system such as this could also be beneficial to students’ mental and psychological health in the long term. I personally have seen peers suffer from breakdowns and depression caused by the pressure and stress of school. This can have a devastating effect on not only to the student involved but also to all of the students’ peers. Being a part of a group that has low morale can further increase strain on the individual.
In conclusion, I believe that something does need to be done about the increase in absenteeism. Perhaps, instead of placing the blame on others, everyone could do their bit to help. Since all are trying to help the students, let’s try to actually help the students‘.
I remember... Part Two
When we got to the hospital Dad lead us to a ward with lots of beds and lots of babies. Dad then stopped, opened a door and walked in. My sister and I followed. My mum was resting on a hospital bed holding a bundle of blankets with my brother inside. I walked over to the bed. Dad picked me up so I could see my brother. He was so small and had no hair. I was surprised. I though babies had hair. I placed Pam Pam next to him but Dad picked Pam Pam up and gave him back to me. I was really confused. I thought that that was what my parents wanted. “Pam Pam is your special toy. Adrian will have one too.” Adrian. My baby brother finally had a name.
At that moment I realised that I was now a big sister and that I had to take care of my brother. 10 years on I still watch out for my baby brother and I still care about him as much as I did the day he was born. But he’s not a baby anymore. Although I would like it if he doesn’t grow another day older, I know that he will and soon he can take care of himself.
I remember...the day my brother was born. I mean how could I forget a day that significant? It was a significant day for two reasons. Obviously my brothers’ birth was quite a change but what struck me as strange was the day he was born. He was born on Christmas Day, 1993.
It was a lovely summer morning. The sun was out early, a pleasant day to spend with your family. I got up nice and early so I could go and wish my family a Merry Christmas and of course, to see whether I got any presents. But to my surprise, I found no one in the lounge, kitchen or any of the bedrooms. I thought this was quite strange seeing as they never left me alone in the house without telling me where they were going or when they‘d be back. So I did what any other 6-year-old would do, I pinched myself. I felt pain so I was obviously awake.
All of a sudden, I heard the back door close. I was scared. I thought that the boogie monster had come into the house. And so I ran to my room, jumped on my bed and hid underneath my covers. I was panting loudly. Then whatever it was came into my room. It started towards my bed, reached for my covers and pulled me out from under them. I had my eyes closed tightly until I heard a familiar voice. “Mimi, what are you doing under there?” My sister blurted out. I slowly opened my eyes and saw my sister standing there, quite bemused. “What’s wrong?” She asked puzzled. “Nothing! I thought you were the boogie monster.” She began to laugh. Then I remembered that she was the only family member that I had seen. “Where’s mum and dad?” I asked. “They’ve gone to the hospital”. “Why?” I asked. “Mum’s about to have the baby, silly.” I almost fell over. I didn’t believe her so I went and checked every room in my house twice. When I was satisfied that my sister wasn’t lying, I asked her when we were going to go to the hospital. “When dad comes to get us” she said.
I sat there thinking for a while. Before that I hadn’t really thought about what it would be like having a younger brother. Did I have to give him all of my toys? Did he get my bedroom? Would mum and dad love him more? I sat in my room all day thinking about how everything would change.
At about 5pm dad came home from the hospital. He told us that mum and my new baby brother were both fine and that we could go and visit them. On the way there in the car, I kept staring at my favourite toy, Pam Pam. I knew that my baby brother had no toys and so I made the decision to give him Pam Pam.
9th January 1966
I see ... mum. She is not looking at me. She is twisting the tea towel. There is no noise but I feel something is wrong. She turns to me and smiles. She asks me what we are going to do, maybe go to the lolly shop or buy a new dress. Yes, mum is going to buy me a big present. She tells me that she is going to the shop and she will be back for me. Water is coming out of my eyes. She leaves and I look outside the window. There is a woman there waiting. She puts her arm around my mum and there is a man, he is walking to my house. He does not look friendly. He sees me looking at him through the window. My pants are wet now. I see a white mist and I remember nothing after that.
10th January 1966
I see ... dull, colourless walls. I am moving down a long corridor and I wonder where I am. A woman who I don’t know leads me into a room with double doors. I see five beds with drab bedspreads. There are five beds but only four children. They are staring at me and I feel afraid. The woman tells me that it is my new home. I don’t understand what happened to my old home.
11th January 1966
I see ... the children rush to get into a straight line when a bell rings. The woman tells me that I must get into the line and get into my place which is next to the children closest to my skin colour. They are strangers. A man and another woman come into the room. They look at us. I don’t understand what they are looking for. Maybe I can help them look for it. It must be hidden or invisible. The man stands in front of me now. He points at me. The other children are angry with me. A boy kicks me from behind. It hurts. The woman plunges my bag into my arms. My feet are moving in the direction of the couple. I am hungry. I follow the couple to a shiny, black box. The man gets inside and the box suddenly makes noises. It is breathing. We get inside and then the ground is moving. The man is telling the box where to go and the box is listening to him. Pretty soon we stop moving. I carry my bag inside. The building is big. It must be a hospital.
12th January 1966
I see ... the potatoes on the man’s plate. They are hot and they have a yellow paste melting over them. He likes potatoes like me. He is putting them in his mouth and watching me watch him. The potatoes are getting smaller but my stomach is getting louder. Be quiet silly stomach. The man is finished. He is looking at me. His mouth is not moving. The woman puts a bucket into my hand and a cloth in the other. She tells me that I must wipe the floor before I get some food. I dream of potatoes in my stomach but the bucket is heavy in my hand. I put the cloth inside. The water is cold. It smells funny. The hospital is big but I don’t see any other people. I wipe the floor and the man is looking at me. My knees hurt on the hard floor. The woman tells me that I missed a spot under the man’s shoes. When I am finished the woman points in the direction of the trough and I put the bucket inside it. I hang the cloth over the side of the trough just like my mum does when she is finished the dirty dishes. My hands smell funny. The woman gives me another cloth. They must be my potatoes inside but my potatoes don’t smell good. In fact they don’t smell at all. My potatoes are bread. The bread is white and hard. It crumbles when I try to break it with my fingers. My bread begins to taste like my hands. My bread is gone very quickly.
I see ... no people in the hospital except the man and the woman. Maybe the people are upstairs. I follow the woman upstairs but there are no people and no doctors or nurses. I am not in a hospital but rather a very big house with nobody in it. I wonder what the man and woman are trying to keep inside their big house. The woman tells me to put on my other dress and I do it. I struggle with the buttons but she does not help me like my mum does. I want to know where my mum is but I don’t know where to look for her. We return downstairs and the man points to the shiny black box that we came in. We go to the playground. We go to the shop. He buys me fish and chips. He puts a white doll in my hands. Then we go back into the shiny black box. He must be hot, he is taking off his pants. He takes my dress off.
14th January 1966
I see ... the children again. I cannot feel my legs but I somehow struggle to my bed. They ask me questions about where the man and woman took me and what they gave me. I cannot tell them everything because the man said that I couldn’t.
18th January 1966
I see ... the man again.
25th January 1966
I see ... the man again.
1st February 1966
I see... the man again.
18th February 1966
I see ... a girl. She is in the mirror. She is not smiling. She is not looking at any direction in particular. She has bruises on her body. She is me. Scream. Scream. Scream. Scream.
Sunday, April 18, 2004
Red Death - Act III
Act III Scene I The Private Garden at Avonsleigh Castle
Constance moved from flower to flower, delighting in each one’s scent. There was jasmine, rose and carnations. She loved the garden. It was the only place in the whole castle where she could forget for a little while and in the garden everyone was her friend, the birds, the beetles, and even the fish in the pond. Constance had a favourite spot under the rose bush, where she took off her veil. She lay on the grass humming her favourite tune The Kiss of a Sweet Maiden.
“la la la, oh how it is sweet to be loved....”
“Oh dear, I’ve forgotten to feed Chester” she said out loud.
She got up hurriedly but was shocked to find a man hiding in the tree next to her.
“Please don’t be afraid” he said. “My name is William”.
“Why are you here?” asked the girl.
“What is your name princess?” he asked.
“Constance”, she replied. A strange feeling came over her.
“ I need your help Constance. The prince has put a price on my head.”
“Because I know who he really is”.
Constance found herself telling the man about the horror in her life, how her father had killed her mother and then watched as she was burning. In the seconds following she screamed, for she realised that she did not have her veil on. William grabbed her and told her that she had been so brave and that one day she would find the peace that she was searching for. The two talked for hours and discussed their plans....
Act III Scene II The Masquerade Ball at Avonsleigh Castle
Victoria bathed and dressed. She wanted to look exceptionally elegant for her last night as Avonsleigh. Her plan was in motion. She had organised for Edwina, her maid, to seduce the guard at the secret chamber and salvage her mother’s jewels.
She descended the staircase. Everyone was masked but she could spot the prince a mile away. He always wore his favourite boots, even to bed. She noticed that his attire however was less than desirable.
‘He’s up to another one of his tricks’ she thought. ‘He’s hiding from someone but who?’
The music played...
William was masked and Constance was at his side. She had to wear heeled shoes to gain the height she needed to appear as an adult. They strolled leisurely through the crowd. The prince organised for his men to seek William out and despite William’s effort to disguise himself, the guards located his position on the dance floor. A chalice of the finest wine was offered to him as the prince waited eagerly for William to drink the poison. William put the chalice to his lips but did not drink. As he placed it on the table Constance discreetly swapped it with another chalice.
‘Your fate is sealed’ thought Prince Prospero and he began to relax.
Constance quickly moved to the powder room and changed her mask. She kept the chalice close to her for she did not want to lose it, or everything would be ruined. She spotted the prince telling a joke and offered him the chalice.
“Fancy a drink?”
“Don’t mind if I do. I have much to celebrate” he wailed and drank the liquid eagerly.
‘So do I’ thought Constance.
After a minute Prospero began to feel awkward.
“Are you in good health?” she asked.
He stumbled onto the floor and began screaming.
“Fetch a physician!” she yelled.
Then she bent down and whispered in his ear
“No one can help you now father. You are headed straight to hell”.
Victoria heard the screaming and could not believe her eyes for there was Prospero dying on the floor, dying a very painful death. In the confusion that followed she rushed to fetch her maid but when she got there Edwina was extremely confused.
“There are no jewels, my lady. I don’t understand”.
“Never mind, they brought bad luck to who ever touched them. Wherever they are, they can stay”.
Act III Scene III The Private Garden at Avonsleigh Castle
Constance lured William and then Victoria to the garden. It had been ten years since they clapped eyes on each other. Neither could speak for they were in shock. Their eyes told their sorrows and there was unspoken forgiveness between them. They embraced.
Red Death - Act II
Act II Scene I Scarborough Fair Market In The Heart Of Normanby
“You’re a long way from home my son”, said the priest.
The man looked up from under this hat.
“I am just visiting some distant relatives” he replied.
“God bless you”.
William watched as the priest turned the corner and headed for the monastery. With a flash William realised that the man was not a priest at all, for he was not carrying his rosary beads. He followed the man, who entered a building on the outskirts of town. He positioned himself by a crate near the window. As he listened the story unfolded.
“Prince Prospero’s instructions are clear” said George. “ He will pay any price for William’s head”.
It was at that point that William decided to put his second plan into action. He hid in a secret tunnel under the school, a place nobody knew about because he had carved it himself as a dare when he and Victoria were children.
Act II Scene II Prince Prospero’s Private Quarters at Avonsleigh Castle
Victoria tried hard not to make a sound, as she stood outside the window. It was bitterly cold but she had to listen to find out where Prospero was hiding her mother’s jewels. She made a solemn vow that just as soon as she had them, she would leave Avonsleigh for good.
“I’m afraid another guard has died in his sleep, my prince” said George.
“Yes, it’s the seventh one this year” said Prospero. “I can’t understand it, it’s not like I’m asking them to polish my jewels, just keep them safe for me. They must be protected at all cost for they will be just reward for the one who brings me William’s head. At least that is what I will let them think”.
The prince’s laugh echoed throughout the castle.
“Now go down to the secret chamber and replace the guard!” he yelled.
Victoria heard every word. She slid past the balcony and followed George.
“Your web of lies will soon unravel my prince” she whispered.
Two months later...
Act II Scene III The Prince’s Chamber
“It is nearly spring. I cannot wait any longer. Each day that passes is a curse of my life when William is still alive”.
“What do you suggest my prince?” asked George.
“ Mmm...perhaps a ball, yes, a masquerade ball. He’ll be stupid enough to come but I’ll be ready for him. We will serve him the finest wine in the province. Yes, it shall be his finest hour yet”.
Red Death - Act I
Act I Scene I The Ball Room at Avonsleigh Castle
Victoria gazed at the ballroom. There was a sea of dancers in the most resplendent attire. Their bodies swayed to the music. One couple stood out above all however. The girl, barely seventeen, was dressed in a golden gown and the gentleman was incredibly handsome in his military suit. It was obvious that they were in love.
“When is my torment to end?” she whispered, grief stricken.
Victoria could not bare to watch any more, for she had once been that carefree girl and madly in love. Although the years had been kind to Victoria, her inner world was a battlefield. She struggled daily with the guilt of having left William. She pleaded with her god to see him once more and maybe then she could tell him that she was sorry.
Wiping her tears she caught the prince’s glance. He motioned for her to take her place by his side. Victoria made her way past the musicians and onto her chair. He reached for her hand but she pulled away. She felt nothing but hate for him now. He had lied to her from the beginning. He had promised her a chance to get her mother’s jewels back but he never gave them back.
Act I Scene II Prince Prospero’s Private Quarters at Avonsleigh Castle
“I must have a word with you my prince. It is of great importance to you” whispered George.
‘It had better be good”, replied the prince.
“Trust me, you will wish to hear this”.
“William is here, here in Normanby. One of my men saw him as he was making his way to the market. He was alone”.
The prince thought for a moment. He reached into his front pocket and pulled out a gold coin. He beckoned George to get it. George put out his hand but the prince pulled him close and said “Before the week’s end I want his head on my table” and with that he put the coin in George’s hand.
“Do not fail me or I shall have to find myself and new first commander”.
Act I Scene III The Sleeping Quarters at Avonsleigh Castle
Constance sneaked out of her room and hid behind the drapes. She knew that no one would see her because she got a lot of practice sneaking to the kitchen every night. She pulled back her red veil. and looked around the room. There were the usual faces. She spotted Prince Prospero at his throne.
“Drink well and be merry my father for it shall be one of your last” she whispered. “Mother’s death will be avenged”.
With that she returned to her room. She ripped off her veil and pulled out her secret journal, which she kept in a place, that nobody would ever think to look, in a panel behind the bed. She had carved it herself. She began writing:
I went out onto the balcony and heard them talking:
“Did you hear about the girl with the red veil? They say that her scars are so horrendous that the very sight of them is enough to repulse even the strongest man. That’s why they call her Red Death.”
Pretty soon water started to appear on the pages of her journal. At first it was a little, then a lot. She began to sob uncontrollably. Footsteps could be heard outside her door but she didn’t care who heard her. When she had cried her heart out she just lay like a corpse. Time passed. It seemed like an eternity. She glanced at her mother’s image on the mantle piece and the thoughts of that terrible night almost two years ago filled her troubled head. She remembered:
She had been hiding from Chester, her dog, just under the table, when her mother and father began to argue. The castle was quiet for most of the servants had already gone to bed.
“I’m leaving”. Her mother’s voice was clear.
Prince Prospero turned to look at his wife.
“I’ve packed my things and Constance too”, she added.
“It seems Henrietta’s been putting too much sugar in your tea my dear”.
“Don’t you dare make me out to be the insane one. I’ve had enough”.
The prince grabbed her by the neck.
“The only way you will be leaving my love is in a box”.
“Let go of me” she screamed.
He pushed her onto the bed and pinned her down. She was hysterical but Constance could do little to help, she was frozen with fear. Prospero tore her mother’s undergarments. She fought hard but he was too strong for her. She reached for something, anything to hit him with. Then she realised that she had put a dagger in her pillowslip. She reached for it but it caught on the trimming. Desperate, she pulled again and it came free but his hand grabbed her grip. He manoeuvred it and plunged it deep into her chest. She let out a horrific scream and then silence.
“Mamma, mamma!” screamed Constance.
Prospero jumped to his feet. He had no idea that Constance was in the room. She ran toward the bed but grabbed a hold of her.
“Constance, your mother has had an accident, my dear. We will fetch the physician immediately”.
“No! You hurt my mummy!”.
She kicked and screamed so hard that she could not breathe. In the midst of their struggle, a candle on the nightstand was knocked over and began to lick the tips of her nightgown. In a matter of seconds she was alight.
Prospero pondered his next move.
‘A girl child can never be my true heir. She’s useless alive’ he thought. With that he stood back and watched as the little girl’s hair caught fire.
But it was Constance’s saving grace for Melba, the kitchen maid, had heard her screams and rushed in. Together with Prospero they quickly submersed the girl in water.
In the weeks following, Prospero explained the events of that night quite well. “It was a case of suicide witnessed by the girl who in her grief set fire to herself’ he said. The court did not question him.