MOCK RAVE WARNS OF DRUG DANGERS PRESENTATION ALERTS PARENTS, WARNS THEM TO KEEP TIGHT REIN ON THEIR KIDS.
VALENCIA - As the bone-jarring beat of loud techno music filled the room and colored lights danced on the walls and ceiling, hundreds of parents and teens sat before projected images of teen-agers at rave parties.
In the pictures, scantily clad teens with pacifiers in their mouths danced wildly and hugged each other in fits of drug-induced euphoria.
The city-sponsored mock rave party, held Thursday night at the Valencia Hyatt, was intended to be a wake-up call for parents and a warning to teens about the dangers of the vast array of synthetic drugs sold at raves.
``This community needs to realize that every single teen is at risk of abusing drugs because of the pressures put on them by their peers,'' said Santa Clarita Councilman Frank Ferry, a high school teacher and member of the mayor's Blue Ribbon Task Force, an anti-drug committee.
``And I will tell you as an educator, your young sons and daughters will stare you right in the eye and lie to you, and they are out there doing things you are not aware of.''
Throughout the two-hour presentation, some young people in the audience snickered as Farmington, Minn., police officer Ted Dau described the health hazards of using drugs and the prevalence of opportunistic pedophiles at rave parties.
Dau created the rave simulation several years ago and has since presented it to communities throughout the country.
However, some young people in the audience said they viewed the presentation as anti-rave propaganda, and claimed that the drugs used at rave parties - such as ecstasy, methamphetamine and nitrous oxide - can be used safely.
``If you're smart about using ecstasy and you just use it once in awhile, it's not that harmful,'' said Jeremy Reese, 20, of Santa Clarita. ``Raving can be a very positive thing if it's done right. It's about bonding with your friends and not being judged.''
Dau told a different story, however, and said his 20-year-old stepdaughter almost died at a rave party after someone laced her soda with GHB, a powerful tranquilizer.
``She ended up in respiratory arrest and in a seizure right in front of the place, and her friends went right back inside and left her there,'' Dau said. ``And you better believe there are Peter Perverts putting capfuls of drugs in girls' sodas and water at these parties.''
Dau added that many of the drugs used at rave parties cause teens to grind their teeth - which explains the wide use of pacifiers - and raise the heart rate and body temperature - which explains the minimal clothing worn at rave parties.
He added that a lethal substance called PMA is being placed in many drugs used at rave parties, and has caused deaths throughout the country. At some parties, he said, drugs are tested for the substance so teens know their drugs are PMA-free.
However, some teens in the audience said they regularly attend rave parties and never use drugs.
``It's truly about the music,'' said Joann Nilplub, 17, of Saugus. ``Some people think it's all about the drugs, but my friends and I go to raves, and we don't do drugs.''
Dau conceded that not everyone who goes to rave parties is a drug user, but added that the events are far more than dance parties.
``Many kids are telling their parents that it's an innocent party, and that's not the case,'' he said.
Some parents at the event said they wanted to become more informed about their children's lives so they won't be duped.
``We have a 17-year-old daughter and we think she's gone to rave parties even though she says she hasn't,'' said John Anderson of Valencia. ``We really just want to try to understand as much as we can about her and try to stay a step ahead.''
Dau urged parents to search their children's dresser drawers and keep informed about the latest drug trends.
``Highlighter pens and tire gauges are commonly used to disguise drug paraphernalia,'' he said, adding that drugs are also routinely hidden in Tootsie Rolls and candy necklaces. ``Do your child a favor and look through his drawers. He might hate your guts for the next five years, but at least he'll be alive.''
(1 -- color) Ted Dau, a Minnesota police officer, shows a bottle of gas that teens might use to get high at a rave party. The bottle is used to fill a balloon, and users inhale from the balloon because the gas is freezing cold coming out of the container.
Gene Blevins/Special to the Daily News
(2 -- 3) Your teen-ager may be hiding drugs in any number of seemingly innocent places, as demonstrated by this display, above. At right, families gather Thursday for a two-hour presentation at the Valencia Hyatt to learn the dangers of rave parties.
Gene Blevins/Special to the Daily News