Daley vows to get tough on 'raves'
By Fran Spielman

   Standing in front of a shuttered Greektown club once used for "raves," Mayor Daley said he wants building owners and managers thrown in jail for allowing their property to be used for parties that peddle dangerous drugs to teenagers.

   He pointed out that the closed club maintained its own walk-in cooler to allow Ecstasy users to combat the dramatic increase in body temperature that's just one of the drug's side effects.
   For years, Chicago teens and preteens have been paying to attend underground raves, where loud music plays while the youths dance and pop designer drugs such as Ecstasy - sometimes with deadly results.
   And, Daley asked, where are the parents?
   "If they don't come forward and help us, maybe a younger child or the neighbor's child will go to one these rave parties and end up in the emergency room."
   Before it was shut down last year, Club XL on the West Side allegedly kept an emergency medical technician on the premises in case a teenager attending one of its notorious "rave" parties overdosed on drugs.

Daley speaking in front of a building used for rave parties
Robert A. Davis/Sun-Times

Mayor Daley, using a shuttered Greektown business as a backdrop on Tuesday, says it is time to put the owners of buildings where raves take place in jail.

   Surgical masks were available for people using inhalants so they could get a better high. And baby pacifiers were given out to counter the involuntary teeth-clenching that comes with using Ecstasy, police said.


   On Tuesday, Daley used the shuttered club at 766 W. Jackson as a backdrop for a crackdown he called long overdue. The mayor said it's time to jail the owners of buildings where raves are held, instead of fining them or allowing them to slip through the regulatory cracks because they sell bottled water and juices, not liquor.
   "The people who run rave parties or own the rooms where they take place know exactly what's going on, but the city does not have sufficient powers to hold them responsible."
   For years, Chicago teenagers and preteens have been paying anywhere from $15 to $25 to attend underground raves, which usually start in the wee hours and can last until 10 a.m.
   In 1999, Chicago Police started finding kids unconscious at such parties as designer drugs like Ecstasy gained in popularity across the city. Ecstasy, GHB and nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, are the drugs of choice at the parties.
   Ecstasy is "starting to overtake cocaine and heroin" as the drug of choice among young people, with sometimes deadly consequences, particularly when mixed with the sedating drug GHB, said Dr. Tim Erickson, emergency room physician at the University of Illinois at Chicago Medical Center.

Chicago Sun-Times
Wednesday, March 14, 2001